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South Shields premier political blog

A South Shields’ man’s journey to the World Cup

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Andrew Grady and his “Magic Thumb”

The sounds of the vuvezela maybe droning and stretching the nerves whenever you are at home or in a South Tyneside pub watching a World Cup game from South Africa, but this hardship is water off a ducks back to former South Shields resident  Andrew Grady as he makes his way to Johannesburg from his Queens Park home in London. He has decided to hitch hike across Europe and the vast African continent using as much generosity as he can find along with his “magic thumb” and his ginger mate Simon Wilson operating the controls of the video camera.

Andrew’s efforts will not be a cheap road trip, in fact it will cost him far more to get the the World Cup this way than it would have been to simply buy air tickets and reserve hotel rooms, but he has picked up one or two small sponsors along the way and some newsworthy television and newspaper stories should assist him in gaining a bit more. His mission also seems to include spreading the Geordie language across the deserts and forests of Africa as well as improving our education of the humble lot of small communities that he interacts with along the way. Here he is in a village called Bamako teaching the local kids the best lingo in the world:

His journey has been a whole adventure full of bureaucratic nightmares with visas and cheap food including bread filled with brain, heart and liver, cooked up on a grill. Newcastle born and South Shields raised, one might have guessed that he’d become a globetrotter having taken employment in London, but this must be the journey of a lifetime, the nights spent in a £9.47 Argos tent would have tested most of us with night time temperatures dropping to bone chilling levels, but he would have been overjoyed at the “complimentary” room purloined from the Holiday Inn, Accra courtesy of the intervention of a Scottish general manager and a sighting of the Daily Mirror.

Andrew only has patchy access to the internet and is currently posting from Ghana, you can read his exploits in where you can also find lots of little vlogs (video clips – video blogs) which will eventually become part of a larger film of this adventure.

If any local businesses would like to contribute a little towards Andrew’s project they can email him

Media enquiries should be sent to

I’m looking forward to the full film and hope that the rest of his journey goes well, I also hope he finds some football to cheer about and that the English team somehow find room to fit him into their busy schedule after the lengths that he has gone to to share English and Geordie bonhomie across two continents!

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Written by curly

June 15, 2010 at 7:15 pm

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