Inside Matters

'If I've helped one person, it's been worthwhile'

11 May 2024

As part of the Inside Matters campaign, one Luton Town fan opens up about completing an away-day cycling challenge as well as his own mental health struggles

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When Luton Town play at West Ham United on Saturday, it will be a landmark moment for Hatters fan Mark Crowther both emotionally and physically - as he completes an extraordinary cycling challenge.

He has cycled to every away ground that Luton has played at in the Premier League this season, raising money for charity and also increasing mental health awareness.

It's a cause that is extremely close to Mark's heart as he has struggled with his mental health throughout his life.

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And as part of the Premier League's Inside Matters campaign, Mark has opened up about those difficulties - which became particularly acute during the coronavirus lockdown - to Dr Amos Ogunkoya, Luton Town's club doctor. 

"I was in a really dark place, I couldn't see a way out," he explains. "I thought no-one would miss me. I just didn't see a future.

"All I wanted was someone to listen and not to judge me, so wouldn't feel alone."

One place where Mark has found solace, safety and a sense of community has been one of the loves of his life, Luton Town.

"I wanted to be a part of something," he says. "I went to one game and it became a drug and part of my life.

"I get emotional talking about Luton because they've been on the journey through my life, through everything I've been through they have been a constant, like an escape from what's going on."

Mark Crowther, Luton Town, Inside Matters

This is where the cycling comes in.

In recent times, he has got in his saddle to complete gruelling charity cycling challenges, such as last summer when he pedalled to all 116 Premier League, EFL and National League clubs grounds.

"The cycling has helped me not think about other stuff," he says. "Recently I'd had the same irrational thoughts that I had before and concentrating on cycling has helped."

And for Luton Town's first campaign in the Premier League, Mark has made the journey to all of their away grounds - with plenty of support from players, staff and supporters along the way.

That incredible challenge will come to an end this weekend when Luton play their final away match of the season at London Stadium.

"It's going to be emotional, the friendships I've made and the journey I have been on," he says.

"I know I will probably have some difficult moments in the future but if I've made a small difference to people's lives, or even if I've helped one person then it makes it worthwhile."

For further mental health support, fans can head to: Get help | Mental Health Foundation

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