Monday, 31 May 2010


With England and The FA now concentrating on the World Cup, the curtain has been finally drawn on the 2009/10 FA Cup.

This also means the fantastic charity adventure Runcorn2wembley is also at at end. After following the FA Cup from the very first round, the campaign was still collecting for Cancer Research despite not being allowed to the semi finals or final.

I managed to get to see every game (including replays) up the semi final, which makes the decision by the powers that be to not allow us to attend either semi or final very annoying.

Thank you must go to all the clubs we visited, their fans and the following people who came along to collect at the games. Rob Knowles, Sarah O'Brien, Chris O'Brien, Patrick O'Brien, Lawrence Whiston, Jonny Lewin, Andy James, John Horn, Chris Corse, Peter Bowers, Simon Baggeley, Neil Goodwin. If I've missed anyone off let me know.

A special mention to Chris Horner, someone who we didn't know before the campaign started, but offered to help us collect after reading about the campaign at the Guiseley v Kendal game. He then attended every game until the semi final.

The biggest thank you goes to everyone who has donated, it means so much to me and my brother Rob.

The fundraising and donations page is still open for people to donate and we hope the current total of £4,415.00 will continue to increase.

So as I now prepare for watching England go out of the World Cup in the usual dismal fashion in the 2nd round or quarter finals, I know following the FA Cup will have to wait. With mine and Sarah's first child due in July we've got more important things to think about.

I'll leave this blog on two points:

1 - Support your local non-league football clubs as they deserve you're hard earned cash much more than the bigger clubs.
2 - The FA and big clubs are only interested in football for what they can get out of it, financially. Unfortunately this means fans are meaningless in the modern era, but become more important the lower you go down the leagues.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


So the 2009/10 FA Cup has finished for another season, but the charity campaign that followed it from the start wasn’t there at the finish.

Despite clocking up thousands of miles following the competition, Runcorn2wembley was unable to complete its mission at Wembley.

The campaign, organised by brothers Richard and Robert Knowles has raised almost £4,500 for Cancer Research, but is short of the £5,000 target.

The duo started the campaign in August at Runcorn Linnets, all in the name of their father who played for a number of amateur clubs but died from cancer when they were young children.

Despite pleas to local councils, the football clubs, police and The FA, Runcorn2wembley was unable to carry out the main fundraising activity of collecting from fans outside the ground before the game.

The campaign was unable to collect or attend the semi final or final and therefore has fallen short of the £5,000 target.

Richard, from Frodsham, said: “We’re delighted to have raised so much money for a cause close to our hearts, but disappointed with the reaction of various organisations to Runcor2wembley attending the semi finals and final at Wembley.

“Being denied permission to collect at Wembley has meant we’ve not reached our target, although credit must be given to the fans and clubs that have been very welcoming to Runcorn2wembley.”

Robert, from Southport, is hoping online donations will continue to boost the total. He said: “The FA Cup may be over for this season, but fans can still donate online.

“I’m not sure we’ll be doing this again for the foreseeable future as Richard and I will both be parents by the time next season’s competition beings.”

To donate simply go to

Friday, 7 May 2010


Well the FA Cup final is just over a week away and Runcorn2wembley appears to have run out of help from the organisations, clubs and the FA.

After receiving great support from fans and the non-league and small league clubs since the start and along the way, it's sad to keep hitting a brick wall when trying to get help from the big clubs, The FA, councils and police.

Football, and in particular the FA Cup, is meant to be about the fans, but money is now the only factor in professional football in this country.

After travelling over 3,000 miles to every corner of the country and meeting so many true fans of the game at places like Runcorn, Guiseley, Kendal and Nuneaton, how pathetic that clubs like Chelsea and Aston Villa either ignore emails and phone calls, or dismiss a charity campaign without even looking at the history of it.

Runcorn2wembley is in memory of our dad who died when Rob and I were still in primary school. As an amateur footballer with clubs like Marine, Runcorn and Skelmersdale, our dad played for the love of the game, not for the money it could give him.

I know he would be disgusted at how the game has developed since he played in the 1960s.

The 'investment' at clubs like Man City and Tottenham can make fans happy with the relative success it achieves, but at what cost? Who pays for the disgusting wages of £100k a week for people who don't care about the club they play for, like the fans do?

That's right - the fans pay for it in ticket costs and the various refreshments etc available at matches.

In the Premiership money is bringing the game to the brink of disaster. Just look at Portsmouth with debts of £138m and the real threat of the club folding.

This shows money is the only thing that matters to the people who run these clubs and campaigns like Runcorn2wembley will find it harder and harder to find support.

Which brings me on to the main point of this post, to ask for a final push for Runcorn2wembley to reach the target of £5,000 for Cancer Research. We need just over £750 to reach it.

Any donations will make such a huge difference to the help Cancer Research can give to finding solutions to the many cancer deaths every year.

I'll update next week and hope to have good news on the donation front.

Saturday, 10 April 2010


So today is the first day of the FA Cup semi final weekend and it's the first game Runcorn2wembley will miss in this season's competition.

Everyone associated with the campaign raising money for Cancer Research is extremely disappointed not to be at the game, let alone not being allowed a collection.

But what's even more frustrating is the lack of coverage on the FA's website. Despite being told the FA website couldn't put up news about Runcorn2wembley, on Thursday I was notified via Twitter that a similar campaign following the FA Vase was on the website.

Click here to read about it. The cause is fantastic and I congratulate the fans for doing such a campaign. It's a shame the FA couldn't help with similar coverage for a charity campaign for it's most prized competition - The FA Cup.

The semi final Runcorn2wembley is still following is Aston Villa v Chelsea and both clubs have shown a similar stance to all other organisations with the campaign.

Chelsea has not replied to emails or phone calls while Aston Villa have refused to have anything to do with the campaign.

The FA commercial department has provided some help with the Facebook account and the promise of allowing a collection at the Trophy Tour when it goes to the two finalists. I thank them for the assistance they guys have given, it's much appreciated.

Unfortunately Brent Council, the Met Police and The FA have all refused to permit a collection for Runcorn2wembley at either the semi final or final.

And that coupled with no tickets being allocated and no help from the clubs involved means Runcorn2wembley is unlikely to reach the £5,000 target. We're just under £800 short.

Still we live in hope and a number of the fundraisers will donate a set fee for the 'ticket' price for today's semi-final and we hope the FA Cup Trophy Tour will raise funds too.

Finally I would like to thank everyone involved with the collecting and donating for the invaluable help.

A special thank you to all the non-league clubs, who's help has far outweighed that from League and Premiership clubs.

I will update this blog next week with news on the teams we've followed during the campaign, as many are involved with a fight to be promoted.

Friday, 2 April 2010


Well it's been an interesting journey from the start of the Runcorn2wembley campaign and we're now reached the semi final stage at Wembley.

Unfortunately no-one seems to be taking responsibility for giving permission to collect from fans before the Aston Villa v Chelsea game.

Brent Council, Wembley Stadium, The FA and the Met Police have all said they can't give permission. They've all mentioned one of the others as being the organisation to give the permission.

So with a week to go before the semi final Runcorn2wembley has no tickets, no collecting rights and no chance of reaching the £5,000 target. It's very frustrating as we're just £800 short.

What's most annoying is the 'big' clubs are providing no help at all to the campaign, completely the opposite to the smaller clubs earlier in the campaign.

Speaking of the 'helpful' clubs, Easter Monday provides an exciting clash for Guiseley FC as they face promotion rivals in the Unibond Premier League, Bradford Park Avenue.

I, along with a couple of other fundraisers, will hopefully be able to see the game and catch up with the people at Guiseley who helped us so much in the early stages of the campaign.

On a final note Runcorn2wembley will hopefully be at the FA Cup Trophy Tour when it visits Chelsea on Friday 9th April.

Thursday, 25 March 2010


With the FA Cup semi final between Aston Villa and Chelsea just over two weeks away, it's a disappointed editor that writes this update on Runcorn2wembley.

Aston Villa are the team the campaign is following to Wembley after the 4-2 win at Reading in the quarter final.

I've had a couple of weeks break from the campaign as my partner Sarah and I have been having scans on our first baby. Sometimes your priorities can change a little, but I'm back on the case for Runcorn2wembley and battling for coverage and donations to reach the £5,000 target.

Despite communication with Aston Villa the club has declined requests for any help with informing Villa fans about the campaign.

The club supports The Acorns Children's Hospice and has refused to help Runcorn2wembley in any way.

The Acorns Children's Hospice is a fantastic organisation and I don't want Runcorn2wembley to distract from that at all. Therefore I understand why Aston Villa wouldn't want to give lots of backing to the campaign, but to offer nothing is very disappointing.

I've had more contact with The FA and hope to have a little more help from them for the semi-final.

On a final note I'll be missing the spring Frodsham Beer Festival to be at Wembley for the semi final so hope Runcorn2wembley will collect a big amount as we look go from the current total of £4,195.81 to the target of £5,000.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

After 11 rounds of the 2009/10 FA Cup, Runcorn2wembley takes to the round again this weekend for the quarter finals.

So far we've raised £4,118.31 for Cancer Research, just over £800 short of the £5,000 target.

The campaign will again be watching a Reading home game, this time against Aston Villa, which could be the Berkshire club's toughest game so far.

This will be the fourth Reading game we've followed after the match against Burnley and two versus West Brom.

A fantastic performance at The Hawthorns in the fifth round replay has given Reading a superb chance to reach Wembley.

Unfortunately Runcorn2wembley won't be collecting any money before the game on Sunday as the club has refused permission to do so.

To make matters worse Runcorn2wembley is having to pay for tickets AND membership to be able to watch the game. The club has put something in the matchday programme, but this happened in the first match we watched Reading and resulted in no donations.

Indeed when we were allowed to collect at the Reading v West Brom game we raised almost £900.

It's disappointing and frustrating the club has taken this stance and we can only hope football fans can go online to and donate.

I will be joined by only one other member of Runcorn2wembley at Reading v Aston Villa, because there's no collection, tickets prices, travel costs and the 400 mile (8 hour) round trip.

But we'll be there and after this game only two trips to Wembley remain, providing there's no replay!

See you tomorrow!