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Grayson targets £500,000 transfer budget for Men United

Press Release   •   Sep 03, 2015 09:00 BST

Preston North End manager and Prostate Cancer UK ambassador, Simon Grayson, today launched Football to Amsterdam – a dual-start cycle ride in conjunction with The Football League aiming to deliver a transfer budget of half a million pounds to beat a disease which kills one man every hour.

Prostate Cancer UK, the Official Charity Partner of The Football League, will stage its fourth annual football fundraiser from June 3-5, 2016 -
– and there are now 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.

Earlier this year a 250-strong peloton including former international football stars Terry Butcher, Matt Holland and Luther Blissett, not to mention riders representing clubs throughout The Football League – and beyond - raised more than £350,000 by cycling from London to Amsterdam.

Grayson made the trip in honour of his close mate, Stephen ‘Garby’ Garbett, who died in September 2014, his team of 11 raising over £42,000, equating to £1 for every man diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK every year.

The 45-year-old joined Stephen’s son David, who also completed the 145-mile ride, at an exclusive behind-the-scenes event hosted by Professor Norman Maitland at a research facility at the University of York this week to find out how his own fundraising efforts are helping Men United make important signings for the season ahead. Professor Maitland’s team at the Cancer Research Unit in the University’s Department of Biology receives substantial research support from Prostate Cancer UK.
Whilst the North End manager has sharpened his squad for their return to the Championship, the team at Prostate Cancer UK have 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.

With a respectable transfer budget of £500,000, Prostate Cancer UK can add five new PhD students to strengthen their Men United squad and provide creative and attacking flair to tackle the disease.

Grayson said: “To ride in memory of my close friend, Stephen, and to do it with his son and some other great lads was an emotional journey. I won a medal for getting Preston to the Championship, but the medal I received for completing the challenge meant so much too.

“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 could fund a completely new area of research that could be pivotal in changing the lives of so many.”

In 2016, Prostate Cancer UK, is relaunching their hugely popular football fundraiser from two locations – a northern leg starting from Oakwell, the home of Barnsley FC while the southern leg will start from the iconic Olympic Park – in a bid to recruit 500 riders from the football family to ride together for Men United.

Mark Bishop, Director of Fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “From our initial event in 2013 with a small group of 35 riders to a total fundraising tally which 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.

“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. These vital funds raised – our transfer kitty - will help us fund research to help fight the disease and will help us provide dedicated support and information to men and their families affected by prostate cancer.”

Ben Wright, Commercial Director of The Football League said: “Simon and his intrepid Preston contingent played a massive part in last year’s event, and he is a man who knows all too well the dangers of this terrible disease that kills one man every hour in the UK.

“We are proud of our partnership with Prostate Cancer UK and it was fascinating to get a unique insight into how the money raised by this great event will be invested. The help from Preston and the rest of The Football League family highlights how the beautiful game can make a game-changing contribution to men’s health.”

Early bird prices for Football to Amsterdam 2016 are just £99* and for more information about the ride, visit or contact the cycling team by calling 020 8222 7158 or emailing



For more information, please contact Gary Haines, Sport PR Manager at Prostate Cancer UK, on 020 3310 7079 or at

About Football to Amsterdam 2016:

  • *Early bird registration for the 2016 Football to Amsterdam is available for £99 for the first 100 full registrations across the London and Barnsley start locations. Full price registration is £149.
  • The Northern leg will kick off from Barnsley FC’s Oakwell Stadium – home of the Tykes since 1888. It will take the riders through the scenic Yorkshire countryside, past Doncaster Rovers’ Keepmoat Stadium to complete the first day’s ride in Hull where they will get the overnight ferry to Rotterdam.
  • The southern leg – London to Amsterdam - remains similar to last year’s ride, yet will switch across East London to a new start at the iconic Olympic Park in East London. The cyclists will peddle through the streets of East London until they break free into the beautiful Essex countryside, past Colchester United’s Weston Homes Community Stadium to finish the first day’s ride in Harwich.
  • Both second days will continue along the picturesque pathways of the Netherlands before the two Men United pelotons converge at the iconic Amsterdam ArenA, home of Dutch giants Ajax.
  • In 2015, the previously named London to Amsterdam Challenge saw a bumper peloton, representing clubs from The Football League – and beyond - pedal from Leyton Orient’s Matchroom Stadium to Amsterdam between June 12-13 raising more than £350,000.
  • Prostate Cancer UK is the Official Charity Partner of The Football League.
  • For more information about taking part in the 2016 ride go to

About Men United and Prostate Cancer UK:

  • Men deserve better. Men United is Prostate Cancer UK’s movement for everyone who believes that men are worth fighting for, to help us beat prostate cancer and keep friendships alive. Some 230,000 people have engaged with Men United since 2014.
  • Prostate Cancer UK works to get men in all areas of the country the early detection, effective diagnosis and better treatments that will beat this disease.
  • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. More than 10,000 men die every year from this male-only disease, and over 300,000 men are living with prostate cancer in the UK.
  • Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can contact Prostate Cancer UK's Specialist Nurses in confidence on 0800 074 8383 or via the online Live chat, instant messaging service: The Specialist Nurse phone service is free to landlines and open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday with late opening until 8pm on Wednesdays.

About The Football League’s Official Charity Partnership with Prostate Cancer UK:

  • With 300,000 men – enough to fill Wembley Stadium almost three and a half times over - living with the disease in the UK, the partnership will help to increase awareness of the disease and help raise funds so that more men survive it and enjoy a better quality of life.
  • Prostate Cancer UK – the Official Charity Partner of The Football League – aims to reach millions of football supporters through engagement activity across over 50 football grounds to raise awareness of the disease which now affects 1 in 8 men in the UK, that's a death rate of 10,000 deaths a year. As well as raising awareness of the disease, the official partnership will help to raise funds so that more men survive it and enjoy a better quality of life. Men United aims to galvanise the football community and inspire a movement for change in men’s health to win the battle against prostate cancer once and for all.

About the University of York Prostate Cancer research facility:

  • The YCR Cancer Research Unit in the Department of Biology at the University of York was established more than 30 years ago.
  • It has made a series of significant advances in the search for new therapies to treat prostate cancer. In 2005, scientists in the Unit were the first to isolate prostate cancer stem cells in 2005.
  • The Department of Biology at the University of York achieves excellence in teaching that is inspired by world class research with impact. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise the Department was ranked first in the UK for impact of its research outside academia – the research has had major influence on environmental policy, industry and health.Extra quotes:

Simon Grayson (Preston North End):
“I have to say, I think it’s brilliant that the ride will cater for football teams both in the north and the south. It will make it easier for northerners like us to get our bikes over to the start point – although I hear the northern leg’s terrain is much hillier!”

Mark Bishop (Prostate Cancer UK):
“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 Football to Amsterdam.