Away from the crazy world of football transfer fees, Preston North End manager Simon Grayson saw how Men United is aiming to deliver a transfer budget of half-a-million pounds to beat a formidable opponent at one of our research centres in York.

4 Sep 2015

Earlier this year, 45-year-old Simon Grayson joined over 250 fans of football clubs around the country as he cycled from London to Amsterdam in honour of his late close friend, Stephen 'Garby' Garbett – who died in September 2014. Grayson’s team contributed over £42,000 to an overall fundraising total north of £350,000.

At an exclusive behind-the-scenes event, hosted by Professor Norman Maitland at a Prostate Cancer UK-backed research facility at the University of York this week, the Preston North End manager learnt how his own fundraising efforts are helping Men United make important signings for the season ahead.

Whilst the Preston North End manager has sharpened his squad for their return to the Championship, the team at Prostate Cancer UK has also made some important decisions in their own dynamic transfer window to allow a new generation of prostate cancer researchers to rise up through the ranks.

More funds for breakthrough research

In 2016, Football to Amsterdam has a fundraising target of £500,000. And in York, Grayson and Dave Garbett – son of his close friend, Stephen – learnt how a £500,000 transfer budget could add five new PhD students to strengthen their Men United squad and provide creative and attacking flair to tackle the disease.

“Together we raised £42,555 and to come to the research centre and see first hand what that money can fund is fantastic. It’s especially poignant to see that the amount the boys and I raised can fund a completely new area of research, which may be pivotal in changing the lives of so many.” said the former Blackpool, Leeds United and Huddersfield Town manager.

From June 3-5 next year, our end-of-season Football League-supported fundraiser will boast not one but two Grand Departs, with riders able to roll out from London and a new start point in Yorkshire – Oakwell, home of Barnsley FC – and aims to recruit over 500 riders.

A proud Yorkshireman, Grayson added: “I have to say, I think it’s brilliant that the ride will cater for football teams both in the north and the south. Although I hear the northern leg’s terrain is much hillier!”

The biggest ride in football gets even bigger

As a charity, we're delighted with how this event is fast becoming the must-do event at the end of the football calendar. As our Director of Fundraising, Mark Bishop explains: “From our initial event in 2013 with a small group of 35 riders to a total fundraising tally that will smash through the £1m mark next year thanks to a peloton of around 500, our football-themed cycling challenge has proved a phenomenal success.

“The biggest ride in football gets even bigger this year with two starting points in the north and south of the country and we want as many people as possible to get behind us. Riders who represent clubs up and down the land show a brilliant demonstration of what we call Men United: people joining one team to fight a common opposition – prostate cancer.”

For those wishing to get in on the act early, you can get to Amsterdam with your mates on Football to Amsterdam 2016 for just £99*. Visit prostatecanceruk.org/amsterdam or contact the cycling team by calling 020 8222 7158.

*The first 100 fully registered participants (across both start locations) will qualify for the early discount of £99. Full registration is £149 and all participants are required to raise a minimum of £1,000 in sponsorship.

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