Sheffield United pals on their bikes for Cup clash

Sheffield United fans and keen cyclists Andy Dabbs (left) and James Kemp, who aim to cycle from Bramall Lane to Wembley in time for United's FA Cup semi-final match there.
Sheffield United fans and keen cyclists Andy Dabbs (left) and James Kemp, who aim to cycle from Bramall Lane to Wembley in time for United's FA Cup semi-final match there.
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They’re off to Wembley! Blades-mad pals James Kemp and Andy Dabbs were never going to miss their team’s bid for glory in the FA Cup semi-final.

But before they take their seats to watch Sheffield United’s clash with Hull City on April 13, the pair will be getting on their bikes to cycle 185 miles from Bramall Lane stadium to London.

James and Andy hope the challenge will raise thousands for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, in North Anston.

The cyclists will set off at 8.30am the day before the game – and aim to arrive in time for kick-off at 4pm the next day.

“We were supposed to be doing an event in London anyway that weekend and then we needed to go down to the semi-final – so we thought we’d kill two birds with one stone and decided to cycle down,” said James, aged 46, who lives in Whirlow and is a partner at WCEC Architects in Chesterfield.

Andy, 32, from Dronfield, is an associate at the firm.

James said he has been attending Blades games since he was four and would be ‘devastated’ to miss the Wembley game.

“I’ve been to 85 away grounds with United,” he added.

The cycle challenge will involve completing 125 miles on the Saturday, then the remaining distance on the Sunday.

Bluebell Wood has been chosen as WCEC’s charity of the year for another 12 months – in 2013, staff collected more than £4,500 through bike rides, 10k runs and a ‘sweet eating marathon’.

“It’s a superb charity – Bluebell Wood and the people who work there are absolutely fantastic,” said James.

“We both need to step up our training for the ride. I cycle to work every day now the light nights have arrived, but it will be a challenge.

“I think it’ll be very emotional when we arrive at Wembley and see the stadium arch. We’ll be ready for a sit down, too, when we get there!”

He said he also can’t completely rule out taking on a similar ride should United make it to the final.

“Let’s hope nobody asks me to do it again – I would if someone persuaded me, I’m that daft!”

Visit www.justgiving.com/WCEC-Architects-Cycle-to-Wembley to sponsor.