WATCH: Jeff Stelling's Men United March for Prostate Cancer UK: It had to be Hartlepool
Footy legend Jeff Stelling said there was only one place to start his Men United March: Hartlepool.
The much-loved Sky Sports presenter left Victoria Park just after 8am for the first of 10 daily walks for Prostate Cancer UK, which will take him 260 miles to Wembley Stadium.
Jeff said the aim of the journey was to raise awareness of prostate cancer as much as it was to generate vital funds.
The Hartlepool man was joined on the first leg of the walk to Marske by former Chelsea, Man United and England star Ray Wilkins, Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell and Pools manager Craig Hignett.
And walking all the way to Wembley with him will be Pools chief executive Russ Green.
“I had to get Hartlepool involved somewhere along the line, didn’t I?!” said the Gillette Soccer Saturday presenter.
“The charity came up with some wonderful ideas, like walking the Great Wall of China or the Inca Trail.
“This was a better idea for me.
“We got a lot of football clubs involved and prostrate cancer affects men and football seemed the perfect fit for me, to get to various grounds across the land.
“Russ and the football club threw themselves behind it, which is brilliant for me.”
The Pools president set off with his band of walkers along Clarence Road, with the trek going along his old home patch of Catcote Road before walking through Greatham en-route to the Transporter Bridge at Port Clarence.
Jeff, who will be joined on the 10-day adventure by Soccer Saturday pals Charlie Nicholas, Matt Le Tissier, Phil Thompson, said publicity for the cause was every bit as important for any money raised.
“We set out to raise awareness, more so than fund-raising. People have been so generous and we hope to top £250,000 because there’s corporate sponsorship to come on the top of that too.
“It will be a nice little bonus to get there.”
Wilkins and Campbell said they were honoured to be joining the lifelong Pools fan in his hometown.
“It’s a fantastic thing he is doing and the awareness he is raising is vitally important,” said Wilkins.
“We as blokes don’t look after ourselves as well as we should, we get this fear factor about going to the doctor and that’s got to change for our longevity. It’s as simple as.
“The awareness will be as important as the money.
“Jeff’s a great guy an infectious guy, everyone loves Jeff, because of him Hartlepool is every football fan’s second-favourite team.
“As soon as I knew the dates and I could make it, I wanted to come to Hartlepool and join him on the walk.”