Sunday 05 January 2014
Former Manchester United midfielder Bryan Robson has described how climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was "the hardest thing I've ever done" but it was worth it for the £116,000 raised for Manchester United Foundation.
"It's fantastic to see the scenery when you reach the top; it's just incredible, but the final day was the hardest of my life"
Robson, who along with Steve Bruce was the first player to lift the Barclays Premier League trophy, in 1993, led a 26-strong team, including former teammate Kevin Moran. It was a 10-day expedition and they reached the summit of the world's tallest freestanding mountain, which stands at 5,895 metres.
The trekkers, some of them fans who had raised £5,000 each to take part in the climb, reached the peak at 5am in the morning, after setting off from camp at 11pm the night before. Robson and his team had to battle altitude sickness and temperatures that dropped as low as -22˚C with severe wind.
Robson, who captained England and won two Barclays Premier League titles with United towards the end of an illustrious career, said: "I can't tell you how hard it was; it was absolute agony at certain stages. It's fantastic to see the scenery when you reach the top; it's just incredible, but the final day was the hardest 24 hours of my life.
"For us to raise over £100,000 for Manchester United Foundation, it's been a really worthwhile trip. These trips are no good unless we get support from the fans back home and our total really shows that that has happened, so I'd like to thank everybody for their support.
"It's been an amazing experience but I've got to stress it's been a really tough experience – good luck to anyone who ever wants to try climbing Kilimanjaro!"
Moran cited the teamwork of the group as a main factor behind the success of the climb. "It was really key that the group gelled so well together; there was fantastic camaraderie and never one raised voice," he said. "There were times when it was so difficult, but everyone did it their own way. It just shows you that everyone has their own reserves, their own strength and they were able to pull themselves through."
Manchester United partners Aon and Singha supported the trip, and all money raised will go towards the Foundation's work with young people across Greater Manchester.
Robson, Moran and the other trekkers were also rewarded for their efforts when they received the accolade of the Old Trafford crowd during half-time of the match between Manchester United and Newcastle United last month.