A GROUP of cycling Celts are aiming to mark the 50th anniversary of the Lisbon Lions’ European Cup success by cycling from Paradise to the stadium where Billy McNeill lifted the giant trophy for the Hoops on May 25, 1967.
The two pals, Paul Muldoon, from Glasgow, and David Shearan from Newcastle, met during a fundraising event for the brave Belfast toddler Oscar Knox, in which several Celtic fans cycled from their home towns to the Irish city on St Patrick’s weekend in 2013, raising thousands of pounds towards neuroblastoma research.
Both guys agreed that the 50th anniversary of the Hoops’ triumph should be marked by a once-in-a-lifetime event which could raise a large sum for charities closely attached to Celtic FC Foundation.
Since the idea of a charity cycle ride was established by the duo, work began on recruitment and how to encourage other adventure seekers and would-be cyclists to join them on their three week-long challenge this time next year.
Vinny Martin from Blackpool and Robert Campbell, an exiled Scot living near Oxford, have since signed up having met Paul and David during previous charity cycle rides closely linked with Celtic.
David said: “About three years ago I had an idea to mark the 50th anniversary of the European Cup win by doing some sort of charity cycle and I toyed with the idea of cycling between all the stadiums where Celtic played en route to Lisbon.
“Last October, Paul got in touch and said he was interested, as long as the route was adjusted so that it went from Glasgow to Lisbon, to replicate the fans’ journey.
“It was much more feasible to plan, and although it’s still an almighty challenge, I was just pleased to have someone so enthusiastic about the cycle and it was reassuring to know that there was someone as mad as me out there!”
Paul added: “Since taking part in a cycle from Brother Walfrid’s home in Ballymote, Sligo, I had been inspired into making this cycle now for a few years and the objective is to raise tens of thousands for charity.
“I am delighted with the encouragement received from all the folks we had spoken to so far.”
Although the four are committed to cycling the 1,650 miles to Lisbon, they are still hoping to attract cyclists who may want to cycle certain sections of the route, volunteers who can offer a helping hand in any way.
And they are also planning to make the first day a gala open day in which is hoped Celtic fans of all ages and abilities can cycle the first few miles together with the final team and see them on their way.
The provisional plan is to depart Celtic Park on Saturday, May 6, 2017 and the package will include accommodation for a total of 20 nights, with the aim of making the Portsmouth to St Malo ferry where phase two will begin..
The group will then tackle the west coast of France and the Pyrenees before entering the Iberian Peninsula at the beginning of the third week and will culminate in an arrival in Lisbon on May 25, 2017.
Charities scheduled to benefit from the epic haul will be Celtic FC Foundation, Irish charity Children in Crossfire and Solving Kids Cancer. If you would like to donate please click HERE.
If you would like to join for some or all of the cycle, volunteer support or even become a corporate sponsor of our logistics/jerseys then please get in touch via one of the following: http://theroadtolisbon.com or [email protected]