Steve Hall is ………….. ‘Doing the 92’!

Steve Hall is probably one of the best-known networkers and businessmen in expat Spain. He is known for starting up at least a dozen self-help clubs for expats, given advice on living and moving to Spain on radio, TV, newspapers and countless forum sites, was a pioneer in offering an alternative phone service to the ‘Big T’, organised the first ‘This is Spain’ exhibition and local property shows, runs www.thisisspain.info web site, was heavily involved with the launch of Los Costaleros and the Neighbourhood Watch and is a staunch supporter of Manchester United, Real Madrid, Gillingham and Torrevieja football teams.

During the summer of 2009 he started to help his great friend and former professional footballer Bjorn Heidenstrom on his mission to cycle from Oslo to South Africa (He is currently in Tanzania after 9 months of cycling through Europe/Africa) to raise awareness of the world’s 45 million refugees who have no home and little hope. His chosen partner is the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees who have given him tremendous support.

Bjorn is collecting football shirts along the way and they will be sewn together to form the world’s biggest ever shirt which will be on display during the World Cup in South Africa this summer. The Guinness Book of Records have been advised and Steve and Bjorn have already received massive support from FIFA, UEFA and hundreds of clubs from the VERY biggest (Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool) to the most humble level 7 clubs in hamlets in deepest Latvia. They have also received support from celebrities such as Sir Elton John, Iron Maiden, Slade, Ricky Valance, The Liverpool Legends and many national football associations from Bhutan to Belgium, Ireland to Italy and everything/everybody in between!

Which brings me back to Steve and the ’92’. Steve feels that he’s been blessed in life and aside from surviving a few ex-wives and a few health scares over the past twenty years, he has been moved by Bjorn’s mission and so has taken up the mantle himself, not to try and raise funds, but awareness of the mammoth task that exists for refugees all around the world, who outnumber the population of Spain!

Thus, in a couple of weeks he’s off on his own bike to help support Bjorn’s cause and re-enforce his efforts. His objective is to travel to England and Wales and visit all the 92 football league grounds (‘doing the 92’ as it is called), starting and finishing in London. He sets off on May 19th with the task of visiting one or two teams per days, cycling some 30-40 miles per day and over some 3 months, cycling over 3,000 miles or about 5,000 kilometres for those of you that have converted your minds to the metric system!

So how can you help? Steve is not asking you to put your hand in your pocket and give to charity.
His plan of action is to start in London where he is meeting representatives of the Premier League, the Football League, the Football Association and the Football Conference, to collect their endorsements. Once completed it’s time to hit the road and visit all the 92 league grounds in the English League (and many other semi-pro/amateur grounds along the way) which, as you can imagine, are not conveniently spread in concentric circles. Although Steve had ambitions to play professional football as a kid and also played Rugby League, where men are men and mostly toothless, he’s the first to admit that for the last 30-years his athleticism has been mainly confined to walking dogs and stepping out to get a breath of fresh air from behind a computer screen!

Steve says ‘What would be great is if I can meet football supporters and those concerned about the refugee issue as I travel England and Wales. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible en route and if you can supply me with a signed Football or T-Shirt from your local team, that will be added to those already collected and join the World’s Largest Ever T-Shirt at this year’s World Cup. My friend Pete Clark has kindly provided and hosted my ‘Doing the 92’ web-site and I will use FaceBook and Twitter (@doingthe92) for regular updates.’

If you’d like to become involved, meet with Steve, supply a shirt, help with the logistics, introduce him to local media, TV, radio, newspapers, provide a bed for the night, a hot cuppa tea or a bottle of water, all and any help would be appreciated. This is where YOU come in!

Steve continues, ‘We have learned much from Björn’s trip and the fact is that it is not the cycling that is the most difficult. No, it’s everything else. It’s local knowledge, it’s advice on where and when to meet football fans, it’s access to wifi or a sofa. It’s sending a fax or uploading some photos and most important, we need shirts. New, old, worn, torn! It does not matter. We just need shirts in numbers. Please sign it and get your friends/team-mates to sign it and send it off to the address below.

I need to meet fans as I travel the country. I need to hear your stories about the teams you love and I need to tell you my story about the refugees. If you have a spare bed/sofa/somewhere to shower that would be great too! I need contacts with all the local newspapers and radio stations as I travel the country. If you have a contact at any newspaper group or in a local radio station I would really appreciate it. I can do exclusive content for your site, magazine or club. ‘How far has my shirt got this week?’

If you have contacts at schools, churches, clubs/charities where I can give a talk that would be fantastic. It does not matter whether it is two or two hundred, I would be happy to meet them Finally, please do the most simple thing. Tell your friends about this project and this site. Send them an email, send them a text or contact your friends on Facebook, Twitter etc.’

And so, Steve Hall, a man with his own mission to help in whatever small way he can to raise awareness of the plight of the world’s refugees, all of whom could use a little help from you and I.

For more information please visit www.theshirt2010.co.uk and send any shirts to The Shirt, 1 Shipley Road, Tynemouth, North Shields, Tyne and Wear, ENGLAND, NE30 2SB or give them to Steve in person during his trip.

Keith Nicol

This could be YOUR head on the body. Just ask! Caricature courtesy of sponsor, Simon Ellinas.

Part of the This Is Spain Network. Operated by Steve Hall.