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Programme Quest, volume 0

July 18, 2012

As some of you may know, I like rugby. If you know that, you probably know that I like rugby union, specifically. And if you know that, you probably know which team I support. And if you know that, you might guess that I went to the Premiership final this year. Well, whilst I was there, I purchased a programme. Normally, I don’t shell out for programmes at big games because they’re usually extortionate. This year’s was no exception on the price front, but it came with the caveat that 50% of the proceeds would go to Sport Relief. As such, feeling all charitable, I decided to go for it. I was quite happy with myself, and I had a physical memento of my day that wasn’t as easily destroyed by transit in a backpack as my ticket would prove to be.

Of course, some of you will have now clicked on the first link in this post and noted that Harlequins won the match.

And some of you will have noted that I’m from Leicester, and support Leicester Tigers.

So after 80 minutes of admittedly very entertaining rugby, after a last-minute push from Tigers failed to save the day for the second year in a row, and after the better team (and frankly, the season’s best team) raised the trophy, you can imagine that while I wasn’t too bitter, I also wasn’t particularly fussed about hanging on to my programme.

But I did. And I’m glad I did, because a few weeks ago I had an idea. It’s so ridiculous that I can’t imagine why I decided to do it, but here it is: I’m going to get my signed by everyone in it, auction it off for the Matt Hampson Foundation.

Now, this is a big project – I count around 125 names in it, including people who work for Premiership Rugby and its various sponsors, and non-rugby celebrities like Jessica Ennis and Jamie Oliver. There are also fans, school teams and people taking part in community projects, but I’m leaving them out because tracking them down would be nigh-on impossible and probably illegal. So it’s just the celebrities. All 125 of them.

When and how will I do this? Basically, it’s going to involve a lot of hanging around: With my minimal funds, I’ll have to target Tigers home games for the right players, I’ll have to sneak round Wembley when we play Saracens, and I’ll have to hope I can get to wherever the Tigers Academy are playing the Bath Academy so I can nab the autograph of their coach Danny Grewcock. I might have to bother retired Tigers top-scorer Tim Stimpson at his office. I might have to actually give the programme to Manu Tuilagi so he can get big brother Alesana, the winger who’s just moved from Tigers to NTT Shining Arcs in Japan, to scribble his mark on it.

Today, though, I’m starting it off with an easy one: a signing with some Tigers players at John Lewis in Leicester to launch the new Tigers away kit. I’ll report back later, hopefully with pictures.

This will not be easy. It might take more than a season. It might take years. But I’m going to do it, because the Matt Hampson foundation deserves the money, and because I know I can. And who knows, it might even end up being fun.


Wish me luck.

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