A football friendship that kicked off with a chance meeting in a Berlin bar while watching Andy Murray win Wimbledon will see a Brentford fan literally get on his bike at Tannadice today and cycle almost 600 miles back “home” to the London club’s Griffin Park.
In the process, Steve Tidy will take in four games and, most important of all, raise around £2,500 for the Alzheimer’s Trust.
The 35-year-old has travelled north to meet up with good mate Pat McCarron, who’s well-known among Arabs as chairman of the group Fans United, and took in the Scottish Cup clash with Inverness Caley before setting off this morning.
And his arduous route south is all down to that friendship.
“It was back in 2013 and Brentford were in Berlin for pre-season. Myself and a mate were looking for somewhere to watch the tennis and, by chance, we met up with Pat and a few other United fans,” he said. “We had a good bit of banter and we’ve kept in touch since.”
The friendship with Pat and other United fans actually led to the formation of a unique supporters’ club, the BeeArabs, so when Steve was planning his latest charity bike ride, this seemed an obvious route to take.
“We thought it would be a good idea to start at Tannadice and head for Griffin Park. I had actually planned it as a practice run before I cycle from London to Paris and back via Guernsey in the summer, but this might be an even bigger task.
“That said, my biggest challenge could be surviving the weekend with Pat before I set off on the bike!”
Once he’s on his way, Steve will complete the journey in stages and take in Brentford games at Middlesbrough and Sheffield United before arriving at Griffin Park just in time for the clash with West Brom later this month.
And thanks to the support he’s already receiving, he hopes to pass a personal milestone with his fund- raising efforts.
“I got into cycling a few years back and I’ve done a charity ride to Amsterdam to raise money. It’s a great way to stay fit and, by the time I’ve completed this journey, I should have raised around £10,000 in all for a few charities, so that’s not bad.
“I am loving the support I am getting from all in Dundee. It’s overwhelming how many nice people there are from Dundee to Durham, Hartlepool to Leeds, Sheffield to London.”