Football fan on epic run to 92 football grounds gets welcome at Fleetwood and Blackpool
A football fan on an epic nationwide charity run to all 92 grounds in the top four English leagues reached Blackpool and Fleetwood stadiums at the weekend.
And it was quite a contrasting experience for Nathan Richardson at the two stadiums, which are just under nine miles apart.
When Nathan entered Fleetwood’s Highbury stadium on Saturday, it was poignant because his great uncle, Colin Addison , was a season ticket holder when he died of heart trouble in 2019.
Nathan had ab photo taken next to Colin’s old seat.
On Sunday meanwhile, Nathan reached Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road just as the Seasiders were celebrating a fabulous third place finish and a play-off place after beating Bristol Rovers 1-0 on the last game of the season.
Nathan, who lives in Sale, Greater Manchester and is raising money for mental health charity Mind, said: “The whole thing has been an incredible experience - I’ve run to 86 grounds now and I’ve camped in my tent, I’ve stayed in hotels and B&Bs.
“It was quite special getting to Fleetwood because of Uncle Colin, he loved Fleetwood Town and would go to Highbury whenever he could.
“The club made me very welcome when I got there on Saturday, and my mum and my daughter Sian met me there and we had a photo taken next to my uncle’s seat.”
Nathan, a Manchester United and Rochdale fan, added: “At Bloomfield Road they had just finished a match and they were celebrating being in the play-offs, so I just took my photo outside and just enjoyed the occasion.”
Ex-soldier Nathan began his challenge at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium in March last year, but his progress was interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.
Despite the setbacks, he has reached 86 grounds from as far afield as Plymouth, Norwich and Carlise and is due to complete the trek at Rochadale's Spotlands ground on June 26, having by then completed around 2,500 miles.
Nathan's goal is to use his challenge to raise money for Mind and to spread the word that running or any physical exercise can help to manage mental health problems.
He is keen to raise awareness of mental health and help break the stigma surrounding the topic.
So far he has raised £5,363.45 of a £9,200 target.
To follow Nathan's challenge see www.facebook.com/Runaroundthegrounds/