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All power to the pedal
IT might be three seasons out of date but Simon Hood’s Bicycle Kicks book has been well worth the wait.
And, detailing Simon’s quest to travel to every York City match during the 2009/10 Conference campaign on his bike, the reader’s enjoyment of this colourful tale is not compromised by its lack of topicality.
In fact, its appeal will extend beyond supporters of his beloved Minstermen, such is the original nature of his escapade.
Fans of any football club will also relate to the hopes and fears, not to mention bizarre superstitions and away-day mishaps, that characterise Hood’s ten-month slog.
Like many of the best football books, it’s not the games themselves that make this such an absorbing read, it’s what surrounds them.
As you would expect, Hood’s journey takes him to a host of far-flung places (his first bike malfunction even takes place in front of the very South Yorkshire family home I grew up in).
He also encounters varying degrees of human kindness, not to mention an eccentricity surely unique to our shores.
Hood is regularly invited into strangers’ homes and, surprisingly, comes across several other fellow cyclists on similar pilgrimages.
It is a great story of one man’s haphazard road of discovery during one of the coldest winters in recent times, punctuated by chance meetings, a near-death experience and nostalgic memories of past experiences following City.
Recounted with wit, eloquence and self-deprecation, my favourite example of Hood’s laugh-out-loud sense of humour is the description of former City chief Colin Walker as a “Wallace & Grommit” character.
The bizarre nature of what Hood has undertaken, meanwhile, is never better encapsulated than when he wakes up with his face in a cow pat on the day he is due to meet English footballing legend Sir Tom Finney.
Possibly the best-ever account of a table-football contest is included too, but prepare yourself for a surprise ending and I’m not talking about the Minstermen’s Wembley defeat at the hands of Oxford.
Bicycle Kicks goes on sale for £8.99 in the club shop at today’s home match with Cheltenham.
It can also be ordered by phoning the club on 01904 624447 with the cost of the book, then £11.50 to cover postage and packaging.
Anybody wishing to buy the book online, meanwhile, can visit www.lulu.com and money from all sales will go towards the Alzheimer’s Society.
CITY-SUPPORTING members of the Armed Forces will also be able to apply online for free tickets to League Two matches at Bootham Crescent this season.
The Minstermen are supporting the Tickets for Troops military charity, which provides complimentary admission into sporting, musical and theatrical events for troops currently serving their country or those who have been medically discharged since 2001.
It is a partnership that allows members of the Armed Forces and their families to escape from the stresses of their job and City’s community development manager Paula Stainton is a big supporter of the initiative, saying: “We are delighted to be able to support this worthwhile scheme.
“York City is very much in the heart of the local community and this is a lovely way of being able to show support for our troops.”
Troops interested in watching future City matches should visit www.ticketsfortroops.org.uk
Trio for Harrogate
Harrogate Minstermen have announced that City trio Lee Bullock, Chris Doig and Liam Henderson will be the guest speakers at their next monthly meeting on October 4 at Harrogate Conservative Club, starting at 7.30pm.
Ingham’s rightful grip on number one spot
IN-FORM goalkeeper Michael Ingham has taken over at the top of The Press Player of the Year standings.
Ingham has moved a point clear of previous leader Dan Parslow after his latest man-of-the-match performance during Wednesday night’s 3-1 defeat at Burton.
On Saturday, during the 1-1 draw at Exeter, the points were shared between man-of-the-match Michael Coulson (three), Chris Smith (two) and Jonathan Smith (one).
Ingham is also the clear leader of the September Press Player of the Month contest, having shared the two bonus points on offer to the player polling the most Burton man-of-the-match votes from visitors to our website with Walker.
That honour went to Parslow following the Exeter fixture.
To be in with a chance of presenting the September Player of the Month with his prize – a framed photograph – on the pitch before a City home game, register your man-of-the-match votes from today’s home match with Cheltenham.
Alternatively, you can also tweet your selections to @daveflettpress
The Press Player of the Year latest standings (not including Player of the Month bonus points): Ingham 9, Parslow 8, C Smith 7, Chambers 6, Coulson 6, J Smith 5, Walker 5, Blanchett 2, Taylor 2, Blair 1, Challinor 1, McLaughlin 1, Oyebanjo 1.
The Press Player of the Month standings: Ingham 11, Walker 6, Coulson 5, Parslow 4, Chambers 3, Carlisle 2, C Smith 2, Taylor 2, Blair 1, McLaughlin 1, J Smith 2, Oyebanjo 1.
Goals: Coulson 5, Chambers 3, McLaughlin 2, Walker 2, Blair 1, Parslow 1, C Smith 1.
Assists: J Smith 5, Walker 3, Chambers 2, Parslow 2, Coulson 1, McLaughlin 1, C Smith 1.
Bad boys: Chambers, C Smith both 2 yellow cards; Coulson, Doig, Ingham, McLaughlin, J Smith, Walker all 1 yellow.