David Parkin cheers a Guinness world record attempt, gets in the slow lane for a motor and finds a way to subsidise his wine bills

IT wasn’t very long ago that I was bemoaning the lack of eccentrics in modern society.

Then I was introduced to a genuine, cast iron, rock solid, 24 carat one.

At 3 o’clock tomorrow afternoon Ed Wood will be watching the kick-off of Oldham against Walsall in Division One.

Nothing unusual in that, hundreds of thousands of football fans will attend a match this weekend.

But by this time next week Ed will be going to his seventh match of the season, this time Crawley v Barnet.

And for the next six months he will spend the majority of his time travelling to and attending matches the length and breadth of England and Wales.

You see Ed is setting out on a quest to regain the world record he set 25 years ago for watching a league game at every one of the football league grounds in the shortest time.

Having hit the age of 50, Ed Wood is taking four months off work on a sabbatical, funding himself on the challenge and risking his girlfriend leaving him as he pursues his obsession to reclaim the record he set a quarter of a century ago and raise £50,000 for Prostate Cancer UK on the way.

Derby County fan Ed, who lives in Leeds, held the Guinness World Record after visiting all 92 football league grounds in England and Wales plus Berwick Rangers, who play in the Scottish league, in 243 days during the 1991/2 season.

But his record was broken by Ken Ferris three years later and still stands at 237 days.

Now bank worker Ed is launching his challenge to regain his record at Oldham Athletic tomorrow and needs to watch league matches at all 93 grounds by April 6th next year to do it.

As part of his charity fundraising, he is also being set challenges at every ground he visits ranging from being the first in the stadium, working as a turnstile operator, getting a selfie with a club chairman and arriving by various modes of transport, including on horseback.

Ed says his obsession with the record started when he was given a Guinness Book of World Records for Christmas when he was seven years-old.

“I still remember waking up on Christmas Day 1973 and Santa had brought me a Guinness Book of World Records. When I read about the record for visiting all the football league grounds in the fastest time I was fascinated and dreamt of emulating it.

“Then when I was 25 I broke the record but only held it for a few years. Now I want to reclaim it and raise as much money as I can for a great charity.

“When I broke the record I was learning to drive at the time and crashed a couple of times and I’m hoping that this time around I will have some great experiences and meet some fantastic people along the way.”

But Ed does have one worry.

“My girlfriend doesn’t like football and has told me that she won’t come to any of the matches with me. I’m going to be doing so much travelling over the next few months that I won’t be seeing much of her, so I hope she sticks with me!”

It’s a great story and one that deserves support, I’m sure as word spreads of Ed’s quest, companies will want to back him in exchange for plenty of profile from an expedition that is going to make headlines.

The Guinness World Record record for the “Most Peripatetic Fan” was first set in 1969 when Michael Jones and Bob Wilson of Shrewsbury watched a league match at all 93 grounds in the country [92 + Berwick Rangers] in the shortest amount of time, 264 days.

Ed broke the record during the 1991/2 season when he achieved the feat in 243 days, watching two matches on the same day four times, all while holding down a full-time job.

It was recorded in the 1993 & 1994 Guinness Book of World Records.

I first met Ed last year. He trained at KPMG with corporate financier, Steve Roberts, a valued adviser during my time at TheBusinessDesk.com and now I’m fortunate to have him as my business partner.

Steve pointed out that the inordinately intelligent Ed Wood and I would at least have one thing in common – supporting Derby County.


But then it turned out we both grew up in the leafy Derbyshire village of Quarndon, probably best known as it was where football legend (well a legend in every place in Britain except Leeds), Brian Clough lived for many years.

It turned out our parents knew each other and they lived just a few hundred yards apart.

When I read in Ed’s background information that his favourite Derby County player of all time is Ted McMinn, I called a friend who works for the BBC and knows Ted.

My BBC contact said that it wouldn’t be a problem to get the former winger, who also played for Rangers and Sevilla and who was known as “The Tin Man” for his big shouldered marauding runs down the touchline, to go to a match with Ed.

When I told Ed the good news, that we’d helped fulfil his dream (thank God it was a simple dream), he replied: “I’m not sure what I’m going to say to him?”

So we wish eccentric Ed well on his quest. He even admits he’s “not normal”, but if he regains his record and raises a tremendous amount of cash for a fantastic charity then that will be more than not normal, it’ll be extraordinary.

If you want to support Ed’s challenge then you can donate to the Edwood93challenge at www.Justgiving.com/fundraising/edwood93challenge

Follow his progress on Twitter @edwoodchallenge and on Instagram: Edwood93challenge

Go Mr Ed!


HAVING endured the lengthy process of selling a house, I’m now in the market for a new car.

It’s a while since I went to a car dealership looking for a new motor, so, with an open mind, I called into a showroom this week.

These days, there are so many more options than buying a new or used car. Do you want to finance it? What kind of finance, are you happy to have? Do you want a PCP or a lease, do you want a balloon payment?

When the salesman told me it was his first day at work, my heart sank. But it wasn’t his lack of knowledge that grated, it was the lip pursing, tapping the computer keyboard to come up with prices and then tapping a calculator and showing me the figure on the screen (the last time that happened it was when I was haggling over a knock-off Ralph Lauren shirt in a Shanghai market).

When I said I thought I might have been offered a better deal for my current car, he muttered the words: “I could talk to my boss”.

My Dad always enjoyed the cut and thrust of negotiations to buy a car and it is so long since I did it, that I was looking forward to the experience again.

Negotiation is an art and should be both challenging and enjoyable, but perhaps the car market has changed because of the new ways to finance motors.

If I do eventually get a new car, I know I’m in for a tough time on the way to get there.


IT was nice to catch up with one of Yorkshire’s top headhunters, Martin Boyle, this week.

For many years Martin headed up executive search firm Howgate Sable, and before that was a director with Norman Broadbent.

He’s now running his own operation, called Advent Search Partners, delivering high level directors and managers for a range of clients across the UK.

As we finished our coffee, Martin said: “I’m off to the good old US of A after this meeting.”

Just as I was about to compliment him on securing transatlantic business, he explained: “By that I mean, the other side of Accrington.”


I WAS going to make an observation about a story this week about a gay couple who held hands in a supermarket and were admonished by a security guard for “acting inappropriately”.

But then I read the reaction to comments by BBC tennis commentator Paul Hand at the Olympics in Rio.

Former player Hand was commentating on Team GB’s Johanna Konta against Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova, when during a break in play there was a so-called ‘kiss-cam’ operating – a camera in the stadium projected images of couples on the big screen who were then urged to kiss each other.

I’ve even seen it done during a T20 match at Headingley, so it isn’t revolutionary.

Anyway, Paul Hand apparently said he hoped the camera didn’t picture two men sharing the screen.

It prompted complaints on social media about him being homophobic and the BBC apologised saying his comment was “ill-judged”.

What made me chuckle about the gay couple’s experience in the supermarket wasn’t that they were accosted by an over-officious security guard for their behaviour, but that when Sainsbury’s apologised the company then offered them a £10 voucher.

That means that I only have to hold hands with six men on my next visit to the supermarket to get half a case of Sainsbury’s quite decent Montagny.

Have a great weekend.


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