5 minutes with Andy Booth

picture of paul calvert jody blair and andy booth for the pedal for pounds event

Millers Oils is this year’s main sponsor for the Huddersfield Town Pedal for Pounds. In the run-up to the event, we took five minutes to sit down with Andy Booth, who after hanging his boots up is still actively involved with Huddersfield Town and the Pedal for Pounds event.

Here’s how it went!

What is your role at Huddersfield Town?

I am now the Club Ambassador, this became my role after I retired from football in 2009. I can honestly say that after 14 years in the role I still love coming to work every day!

When I decided to retire from playing, Dean Hoyle was still very keen for me to have involvement within the football club. I was offered a free role within the club, whether that be coaching, working with the academy, scouting, anything on football side really… but I had been in football for 20 years, I was never interested in coaching side. Believe it or not I wanted to retire and my next step was to become a postman! The whole idea of leaving football behind, having winter holidays, weekends, not being tied down was the dream for me. However, Dean encouraged me to stay on with the club and I’ve really developed the role as I like through the years, I’ve heard nothing in 14 years so I must be doing something right!

The role and my involvement with the club has really developed a lot throughout the time I’ve worked it – from support services, fan based actions and opportunities, helping out with the charity side of things and supporting junior football teams within the area, it is a huge achievement for myself and the club to actively make an impact to the community. It truly is a fantastic job, I love it, and there’s no pressure! Huddersfield Town has always been my club – I supported as a youngster, my parents worked on turnstiles, I obviously became a player. So to have HTAFC as part of my life ever since I was born and still be part of the team all these years on is mindblowing!

How did you get involved with Pedal for Pounds?

Dean Hoyle has always been about the community. When he decided to do the first cycle ride, he made an announcement he would cycle to the first home match of the season, this was 250 miles away at Southend away. I really had no choice in the matter, I ended up doing it with Dean and 22 other cyclists in 2009. I must admit, I hated cycling, did no training whatsoever but loved the event.

The first year we raised between £40 – 45k for the academy at the time. The following year Dean decided to do it again to Brighton, that time 160 cyclists participated, 280 cyclists the year after and it’s just grown and grown! The routes have been Belgium, Germany, France, Holland and all around the UK. I did the first 6 rides, when the 7th ride came about there was an option to cover maternity leave to help out organising and leading the support team, I decided to put the lycra down and have a part in the event from a drivers seat and I’ve never gone back the saddle. Organising and supporting the rides year in, year out. Over all we have raised around 3 million pounds over the years.

Now your involvement is a support role, rather than a rider – if the chosen fixture was ever a local team would you put the Lycra back on and give it a go?

Not a chance! Now I’m actively involved in the organisation I much prefer being the support. When I did cycle, the whole group effort and teamwork was what helped you carry on  and having everyone together to chat to and for moral support really does pass the time.

As I said before, I did no training beforehand, I didn’t even know how to change a puncture. The very first event, in Barnsley, I lent a bike to participate, ended up getting a puncture, had no inner tubes, no spare tyre – diabolical. Luckily the group I was in had a lot of experienced riders and really took me under their wing and looked me. Now I feel I can do the same for them but from a car haha!

With Ronnie Jepson back at the club – would you fancy resurrecting your old partnership and riding tandem to Cardiff?

Not a chance. I did his running for 4 years when he was at the club, I’d end up doing all the work! And there is honestly no chance I’d ever cycle that far again. All jokes aside, it really is great to have Ronnie and Neil back, although we did keep in touch to be able to see them and chat with regularly is amazing and I know Neil can take the challenge on confidently!

If you want to support P4P follow the link here: Huddersfield Town Foundation: Pedal For Pounds 11- The Land of The Dragon (enthuse.com)