The sale of our 150 Spurs-Holsten retro cycling jerseys has now ended, raising over £7,000 for PCUK. Thanks are due to THFC and Carlsberg UK for the permissions granted that made the initiative possible. A big thanks also to Spurs cyclist Gary Parker for all his hard work in bringing this to fruition.
As you will have read in recent THST newsletters, Prostate Cancer UK had been working hard to reschedule their annual bike ride to Amsterdam for early September 2020. However, it is now clear that it won’t be possible to do so safely due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.
The good news is that dates are already in place for the 2021 event. It will take place from 4-6 June 2021. All 2020 registered cyclists (28 in the case of Cycle on Your Spurs, the largest in the country) will be given the opportunity to defer to 2021 and all of our 2020 fundraising, over £21,000 to date, will be carried over to 2021.
Cycle On You Spurs and the Trust will be doing all we can to seek out and encourage new recruits for the June 2021 ride; likewise to boost our fundraising. You can register your interest now. And to donate to our Just Giving page, click here.
Due to the acute risks to health posed by COVID -19, PCUK has postponed the June 2020 Football to Amsterdam ride from the Olympic Velodrome to the Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam. Whilst not surprising, this came as a massive disappointment to the 28 Cycle On You Spurs riders; both the biggest team nationally and of all our teams since we first participated in the ride in 2016.
In the last few days PCUK have started provisional planning for a rescheduled F2A20, as follows:
We’ll keep you updated on the latest developments on this web oage and in our upcoming newsletters.
This year’s Cycle on you Spurs charity bike ride to Amsterdam in June sees a very special new recruit join the team to help raise money for Prostate Cancer UK. Team captain Kevin Fitzgerald paid a visit to Rob White, who has more than a passing connection with all things Spurs.
First thing’s first. Rob’s house wasn’t exactly the hardest place to find. I cycle past his front door, and scores of other Spurs fans walk past it, on approaching Tottenham Hotspur’s ground. From the front door, looking left and around 500 yards away, the steel and glass of the single tier south stand shimmers in the winter afternoon haze.
As we settle down with a cup of tea, Rob says in that thoughtful, reflective way he has about him “Spurs is in my DNA”. This is no hyperbole; it is literally true. Rob’s father was John White, the inspirational player at the heart of Spurs’ legendary 1960-61 side, the first team to win the modern league and FA Cup double. Harry Evans, manager Bill Nicholson’s assistant and right hand man, was Rob’s maternal grandfather.
For Rob, only six months old when his father was killed by a lightning strike on an Enfield golf course, his recent move to Church Road, Tottenham, feels like returning home; a crucial emotive thread in his imagining of a father he never knew and a time he has only read about. For some reason, my mind goes to the movie Field of Dreams, a wonderful film in which a son reconnects with a sporting father in his mind’s eye. Rob’s field of dreams lies buried beneath the Premier League and NFL pitches of the new Spurs arena. The imagining of his late father is a powerful thread of The Ghost of White Hart Lane, Rob’s wonderfully evocative book about his search for the legend that was his father.
By a neat piece of geometry Church Road links Spurs’ field of dreams with All Hallows Church where the three boys who founded Hotspur Football Club attended Bible classes and, with the help of the Bible class teacher John Ripsher, brought Spurs into being. Rob’s house sits equidistant between the two. From Church Road one crosses the High Road, just past the site of Harry Evans’ office in the Red House, now alas the victim of stadium expansion, and down the High Road from the site of the gas lamp under which the three schoolboys developed their grand idea.
Along Park Lane the continuing straight line takes us to the Club’s two former homes. White Hart Lane itself connects to the White Cottage, the home of one of those boys, the alliterative Bobby Buckle - founder, player, captain and subsequently Club Director. And, of course, on White Hart Lane itself is the former home of the great Bill Nicholson.
Sitting in the midst of Spurs history, we cast our minds back to a time when many professional footballers lived close to their place of employment, often with close links to their locality. The Whites lived up the High Road in Edmonton, while John’s teammates Cliff Jones and Dave Mackay owned shops in Tottenham.
Incidentally, before moving to Tottenham, Rob played a role along with Julie Welch (the co-author of The Ghost Of White Hart Lane), Pete Haine, THST Secretary, and members of the Antwerp Arms pub Management Committee in putting together the Spurs History Walk. He now walks the walk… or rides it.
And so to cycling. In the international language of road cycling the word Palmares designates a cyclist’s achievements, a sort of cycling CV. So what of Rob’s Palmares? He tells an amusing anecdote of his first ride, as a six-year-old pedalling down the street, forgetting how to brake, and stopping only by cycling straight into a parked car. He hoped no one had seen him, jumped straight back on and cycled home.
From there, as for many of us, the simple joy of bike riding and the charm of the bike led to the cycle as an ever-present mode of transport, cycling to and from his studio (Rob’s ‘proper’ CV would contain the words professional photographer), for 20 or so years. In the recent past, Rob has developed quite a pursuit of cycling to football grounds. In 2015, with a few Spurs mates, he decided to ride to the first away game of the season; the Premier League computer chose Old Trafford, Manchester for them. In 2016, the same decision; the computer obliged with Goodison Park, slightly further away in Liverpool. 2017? Computer says Newcastle; Rob sensibly declines.
My own shared experiences in cycling to football grounds with Rob stretch only as far as Brighton and Hove Albion’s Amex Arena, but in 2017 and 2018 we cycled a 100-mile round trip calling in at all London’s league grounds to promote Prostate Cancer UK’s London to Amsterdam charity ride.
So, on finally to the London to Amsterdam 2020 ride and another trip to a football ground, the Johan Cruyff Arena, the home of AFC Ajax. For a few years now, Rob has expressed a desire to sign up for this charity challenge. A firm believer in the power of sport to make a wider difference in society, for some time he has been working on projects with the Sporting Memories Foundation, helping tackle dementia, depression and loneliness through the power of sports reminiscence. Let us leave the last words with Rob.
“I’m getting involved this year as I believe that it’s high time I stopped just talking about doing the ride, and actively got involved. I’m sure that it will be a great way of raising funds for Prostate Cancer UK, increasing the awareness and conversations around the disease, all whilst being part of the Tottenham team.”