U's Director drops into the Boleyn

Cambridge United's Director of Football Jez George called in at the Boleyn Ground on Monday afternoon as part of his marathon fundraising effort.

The 44-year-old has walked to Barclays Premier League clubs up and down the country as part of his 'Mission 676' challenge, with the aim of raising funds for the U's Community Trust.

George completes his challenge on Friday having walked 26 marathons in 26 days and during his brief stop in east London, George told West Ham TV of his motivation for undertaking such a mammoth task.

"I'm walking 676 miles to raise money for Cambridge United's Community Trust. We're a club who've been out of the Football League up until Sunday for nine years and we've worked really hard to run a youth scheme over the last eight years without any funding.

"We want to really do more work within our local community and to do that we need funds, so as Director of Football I thought that it was my job to raise those funds and we've been really pleased that lots of people have supported us.

"The last 22 days has got us a bit of publicity about what the club's all about and what we're trying to do and more importantly raise a lot of money to help the trust deliver a lot of charitable projects around Cambridge in the future."

The one-time U's manager joined Cambridge in 2006 to head up the club's youth system before moving into the Director of Football role following a stint in charge of the first team from February 2011 to October 2012.

In recent years, George has worked tirelessly to raise funds and support for the club's Youth and Community Trust and this is not the first time that he has pulled on his trainers for the cause.

"I've done a couple in the past to raise money for our youth scheme. I did one about five years where I walked from Torquay to Cambridge and then four years ago I did another one around Conference clubs who weren't getting funding and we tried to campaign to help clubs in the Conference who wanted to continue their youth schemes who used to be in the Football League.

George spent time at the Boleyn Ground on Monday afternoon

"I guess I can't run, so walking's the next best thing and when you do anything like this around Premier League clubs like West Ham you get a little bit of attention in the public eye and it helps us to talk about what the club's aspirations are and what our ethos is and our philosophy.

"People do get behind you if it's an outrageous thing that you're trying to do. I didn't know at the start whether I'd be able to do it, but touch wood I'm still moving and still going so hopefully I'll finish it on Friday and we'll raise a lot of money."

Last weekend George received the perfect tonic for any aches and pains he may have been feeling when the U's secured their return to the Football League after a nine-year absence with a 2-1 win against Gateshead in the Skrill Premier Play-Off final at Wembley.

George believes Cambridge's return to league football has put a spring in his step for the final few days of his challenge, as well as being absolutely vital for the future of the club.

"It's massive, it means everything to us. It's brilliant to see Andrew Pincher [West Ham Club Secretary] here, he was at Cambridge for a long time and did a brilliant job for us before leaving to go onto better things at Blackburn, and now West Ham.

"It means so much to everybody, the status, the fact that we can progress as a club again, the funding that it brings, especially to the youth scheme as we've had to fight so hard to keep that going, it means everything.

"The elation and then the relief and then the realisation that we've achieved something that we've been striving for for a long time meant it was a massive day. My head's whirring today because we've got so many things to do to make sure we're competitive next year."