As Ed Wood, from Derby, arrived at the turnstiles of Rochdale’s Crown Oil Arena today, Saturday 18 February, he did do so with more excitement and anticipation than even the most ardent of Dales supporters.
As Rochdale looked to strengthen their bid for the play offs v Charlton Athletic, Ed made history by reclaiming the Guinness World Records title for the Fastest time to visit all English Football League stadiums, a record he last held 25 years ago. A Guinness World Records representative was pitch side to present Ed with his award.
After a long and complex planning phase, the 51-year-old, started his challenge at Bristol Rovers for their game v Oxford United on 14 August 2016. In 189 days, he has attended 93 league matches (the record requires a trip to Berwick Rangers, an English club playing in the Scottish league system) and has clocked up 22,000 miles travelling the length and breadth of the country. Ed has raised £5500 for Prostate Cancer UK and that figure is set to rise now the challenge is complete.
Upon achieving the Guinness World Records title, Ed Wood Said: “Becoming a Guinness World Records title holder again after all these years is a great honour and something that has given me some incredible memories. I have missed my partner’s birthdays and our anniversary, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day but to achieve the record and raise money for Prostate Cancer UK has been hugely rewarding. I have had help from lots of friends and from just as many strangers up and down the country – I have been touched by their willingness to help me out with tickets, travel, talking to clubs and lots more. I’m not sure I’ll miss regular 300 mile round trips on a Tuesday night, but it won’t be long till I am back at the football.”
Mark McKinley, Guinness World Records Adjudicator, also commented: “This is an incredible achievement by Ed. The logistical challenge of assessing the fixture list and calculating appropriate routes that encompass all 93 stadiums should not to be underestimated. Taking time out from his normal life to pursue his goal shows astounding commitment to making history.”
Some of Ed’s highlights:
• Best match: Berwick Rangers 1 v 1 Cowdenbeath, 5 November 2016. “Two Berwick players were sent off, one missed penalty, a 21 man brawl and only 454 spectators there to see it. 50 of whom were attending a hen party – they weren’t too concerned with the football.”
• Favourite stadium: Newport County’s Rodney Parade. “I was given an AAA pass and wore the mascot’s outfit. It is a quirky ground, perhaps not in the best of condition and prone to waterlogging, but I’ll certainly go back.”
• Best home fans: Tottenham Hotspur. “Excluding Derby as they’re my team. If the criteria is the stadium being full and loud, it has to be Tottenham. I saw them beat Chelsea 2-0 on 4 January 2017 and the place was rocking. I really hope their new stadium retains that atmosphere.”
• Best away fans: Newcastle United. “It has got to be Newcastle. I saw them away twice (Leeds and Wigan) - they sold their full allocation on both occasions and they did not stop singing. They’re hugely passionate fans.”
• Stadium with the best food: Tottenham Hotspur. “I stayed off the food at first to try and keep some weight off so I can’t claim to have tried food everywhere but one particular burger stands out, at Tottenham. Interestingly, the most expensive food was Arsenal. A hotdog was £5 and they charge 30p for extra onions – I got them so I could feel even more aggrieved!”
• Friendliest club: Wycombe Wanderers. “The club went out of their way to help me out – I carried the ball out before their match v Crewe on 27 September 2017, and was treated like a VIP the whole time I was there. I saw Wycombe play again, away v Cheltenham on 30 December – some of the staff came and found me to see how I was getting on. They didn’t have to do that but I’m really glad they did.”
Ed is raising money for Prostate Cancer UK. You can sponsor him at http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/edwood93challenge. Find out more about Prostate Cancer UK’s work in football by visiting http://www.prostatecanceruk.org/football