Two die-hard Dundee United fans have completed an epic trek from Tynecastle to Tannadice, raising tens of thousands of pounds to help pay the club’s legal bills.
Paul McNicoll and Andy Crichton were given heroes’ welcomes outside the Tangerine’s homeground on Saturday evening as they completed a day-long hike of about 60 miles from the Hearts stadium in Edinburgh.
The pair’s efforts raised more than £43,000 towards the legal fees facing United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers after the clubs were dragged into a fight to defend their promotions.
The three sides have endorsed fundraising initiatives to help fund their defence against relegated sides Hearts and Partick Thistle; with groups of supporters uniting for several epic walks to Tannadice on Saturday.
The efforts from all three sets of fans raised a total of £68,000.
The Jam Tarts and the Jags had launched a legal challenge to the SPFL’s decision to end the 2019-20 season early.
The petition was suspended at the Court of Session in early July and will be taken to an SFA arbitration panel.
The estimated legal costs for the promoted teams is £150,000.
During Andy and Paul’s walk, which started first thing on Saturday morning, donations continued to pour in for their cause through their GoFundMe page.
Fellow supporters followed the duo’s progress on the trek through the hashtag #TynecastletoTannadice on Twitter.
In the final stage of the walk they were led down Tannadice Street by a bagpiper and greeted by throngs of applauding supporters, as well as former and current United players.
Speaking at the finish line, Andy said they felt “emotional, drained, but ecstatic”.
He added: “I saw my kids (at the end) and I was holding it in a bit but it was absolutely great.
“I hit a wall at Gauldry. I saw the bridge, I thought ‘yes’, but it just seemed to go forever. The last five miles was a blur.
“There were people turning up in the middle of nowhere to support us. It was incredible.”
The father-of-four, 45, added: “It was more for Raith and Cove because I’m sure Dundee United could have paid for this but we couldn’t see these clubs being punished for their success, and that is exactly what has happened.”
However Andy said their efforts were almost scuppered when they took a wrong turn and ended up lost in a field in Fife.
— The Dode Fox Podcast (@dodefoxpodcast) July 18, 2020
Andy said: “How we got through that I don’t know. But we did and we found a road.”
Father-of-one Paul added: “I would say I am absolutely shattered.
“We wanted to try and do something to help raise a little bit of money for the club and it was a silly idea to walk that sort of distance but it paid off. It worked.
“We did raise an extraordinary amount of money.”
The 43-year-old joked: “And we will not be doing it again”.
Cove Rangers and Raith Rovers fans also took part in treks to Tannadice on Saturday; with all three clubs collectively raising £68,000.
One group of Fife walkers made the journey from Stark’s Park in Kirkcaldy to raise funds for the legal battle.
WALK TO TANNADICE | Our group of supporters have arrived at Tannadice, where they are meeting up with the walking groups from @dundeeunitedfc and @CoveRangersFC Well done to everyone involved! pic.twitter.com/NG5Qp9U1UP
— RRFC Official (@RaithRovers) July 18, 2020
And Cove Rangers hikers Roy McBain, Ian Yule, Gary Hake, John McCafferty and Duncan Little arrived at Tannadice from Balmoral Stadium in Aberdeen – a journey of just under 70 miles.
They completed the route in 21 hours.
THEY’VE DONE IT! ✅
Well done guys!
— Cove Rangers FC (@CoveRangersFC) July 18, 2020
Former Cove player and coach Roy said: “If there is one thing my time at Cove Rangers taught me it’s that you never do anything in half measures.
“It’s why, even though my foot was killing me, there was never any chance of me not finishing the walk.
“I said I would do it to help the club and I’m absolutely delighted to have fulfilled that promise.”
Cove Rangers super-fan Ian added: “That’s the hardest thing I’ve done in my life, but I loved it.
“It’s the furthest I’ve ever walked in one go so there’s a real sense of achievement at the end of what was a trip I will cherish for ever.
“It was an honour to help the club I love and a privilege to have been allowed to do so alongside so many of my Cove Rangers heroes.”