Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer sounded something of a bum note yesterday as he set off on an unusual challenge for the charity Sport Relief.
The former United and England captain is taking on fellow pundit and one-time Wales international Robbie Savage in the unusual task of trying to sit on half the seats in Wembley Stadium.
And while the task might involve a lot more sitting down than the running, cycling and swimming challenges that Sport Relief is more normally known for, the task will see the former players face almost 65 hours of squatting and sliding.
“In a strange way I’m looking forward to it,” the 43-year-old said, before setting off to try and sit on 45,000 of the ground’s seats. “I never realised Wembley Stadium was that big, but sitting in the top tier, what a magnificent view. The only thing that’s spoiling it is Robbie sat next to me. Thirteen hours a day for five days is going to be one hell of a hard task.
“We’ve both been doing a bit of training, and judging by the size of Wembley it’s a good job as well.”
Robbie Savage said: “I don’t think people realise the magnitude of the task until you’re here in an empty stadium. Honestly it’s ridiculous. I think if we both get to the end and we’ve raised some money, we’ll be happy.”
After padding up their posteriors Shearer and Savage kicked off their brutal challenge at 7.38am yesterday, with the former Magpies number nine initially taking the lead.
To make their challenge worthwhile the pair are inviting supporters to take part in a competition, with each of the 90,000 entries – one for each of the seats in Wembley – costing £5. Prizes include the chance to see England play at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, two centre court tickets for Wimbledon’s second round or tickets to see One Direction on their UK tour.
The money raised will go to support a number of projects across the region, which in the past have included About Turn and Stonham.
About Turn aims to help the many armed forces veterans who experience post-traumatic stress disorder after being discharged from active service by offering them the opportunity to become qualified angling coaches, while Stonham provides accommodation and advice for young people affected by drugs and alcohol.
To check on Shearer’s progress visit www.sportrelief.com/backsides