A FATHER and son are hoping to follow in the footsteps of Saints legend Francis Benali by completing an epic, 1,750-mile journey to all 20 Premier League grounds across the country.
But rather than running between the stadiums, Simon and Henry Stone will be skateboarding, rowing, flying, canoeing and using any form of transport available in their charity challenge.
The pair will begin their Big Bag Stadium Tour today, and aim to raise more than £2,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Simon and Henry Stone are following in the footsteps of Saints legend Francis Benali
Simon, who runs his own catering company and is a coach at the Saints Foundation, says they want to raise money for the charity after its nurses looked after his mother Rita, step-dad Ron Tyrell and aunty Doreen, who all died from cancer.
The 48-year-old from Chandler’s Ford said: “They were fantastic – when we needed them they were there for us.
“We want to raise more than £2,000, and we’re also going to give something to the Saints Foundation as well.”
Simon and 13-year-old son Henry, a Toynbee School student, started their journey at 11am today at St Mary’s Stadium.
They will complete the first leg of their journey, to Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park in London, in a Saints Foundation smart car.
But from that point onwards their modes of transport will get more unusual, and will include canoeing along the canal between Aston Villa’s Villa Park and West Bromwich Albion’s the Hawthorns, and skateboarding between Everton’s Goodison Park and Liverpool’s Anfield.
They will also be cycling between Tottenham Hotspur’s White Hart Lane and West Ham’s Boleyn Ground, taking a speedboat from West Ham to Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, and cycling from Chelsea to Queens Park Rangers’ Loftus Road.
Simon says they are hoping to meet former Saints full-back Francis Benali at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.
He is aiming to raise £1m for Cancer Research UK in by running between all 20 Premier League stadiums. His gruelling challenge will begin at Newcastle’s St James’ Stadium on August 24.
Simon and Henry hope to complete their challenge in Southampton on August 30, after flying back to Southampton Airport from Manchester, and arriving at St Mary’s in a fleet of Harley Davidson motorbikes.
Liverpool fan Simon continued: “Football is a real passion and we thought it would be nice to visit all of the grounds and see what is going on in other cities.
“We thought it would be a bit more fun and interesting to use different modes of transport to get around all of the grounds.”
- You can donate to the Big Bad Stadium Tour appeal by visiting justgiving.com/BIGBADSTADIUMTOUR.