A guest blog on an Operation Promotion birthday challenge from @Sandii_lou !

I have been following #Operationpromotion on Twitter since it launched, and love how it has got all the fans and players interacting like never before. Sure, we all “followed” each other, but very rarely struck up a conversation with one another. Now the banter is great between the players and fans alike.

With my 33rd Birthday rapidly approaching, I knew I had to do something special. I have to admit to being a Princess – every birthday is a big birthday as far as I am concerned, and if I could get away with a party at Play Towers every year I still would – my inner 6 year old would love it! I had nothing planned for it this year, 18th June 2015 would just pass like any other day…. This makes me an unhappy Mariner!

So, on a whim, I laid down the gauntlet to the Trust Board Member Paul, AKA @TooGoodToGoDown: for every Birthday tweet from a player, past or present, I would put another £3 in the transfer kitty. “This is gonna cost me about £30” I thought. Surely he doesn’t have that much clout with the GTFC contingent, past and present? The husband was pacing, ranting, he’d rather I went to Meadowhall with the credit card than this, apparently!! Seems he thinks Paul does have the multiple connections to make this turn into something fun. Potentially expensive, but fun! We agreed a limit of 25 messages – Paul seemed confident that he would smash this!

The conditions were simple; the messages must be past or current GTFC players, and one of them wished me a Happy Birthday on Twitter, I would be committed to putting in £3, upto the £75 maximum. I had no idea if we would reach the £75, but I doubted it.

We started quietly; I woke up to tweets from from ’98 heroes Kevin Donovan and Wayne Burnett (My schoolgirl crush, swoon!) £6!  And then, what I thought would be my saving grace – HARRY HADDOCK IS BACK!! Surely no one cares about my little challenge with Harry on the loose?  Oh, how wrong I could be!

Paul had messaged a few players, but suddenly my ‘phone was going nuts because another Trust Board Member Dan decided he would try and drum up support too, sending messages on twitter on his way home from work. Suddenly there were many requests popping up, and birthday wishes came in from many of the current squad; Craig Clay, Gregor Robertson, Shaun Pearson and latest signing Omar Bogle.  from skipper Craig Disley, Josh Gowling, recent arrival Danny East, new professionals Josh Venney and Callum Bastock.

It wasn’t just the current squad members; messages came from Carl Magnay, and from Michael Reddy and Alan Connell. They just kept coming; Danny North, Sam Mulready, Gary Croft, Paul Walker, Caine Winfarrah.   Nicky Walker, Dayle Southwell, Harry Pell, Lee Peacock, Ellis Humble.    Scott Kerr, Tom Corner, Jonathan Hedge, and Michael Coulson. A flurry of late afternoon activity.  All wishing little old me a Happy Birthday!!  And even some who weren’t asked to join in until late on, a couple in particular responded almost instantly: Liam Hearn and Bradley Wood, which really pleased me! (despite their new Lincoln links….)

My personal highlight came at about 8pm. I have no idea who instigated it, I was lost in a sea of notifications by this point – but it appeared, as if from nowhere. My very own Italian greeting from the legend that is Mr Ivano Bonetti!!!  (Nothing to do with Paul or Dan I’m told!) I had tweets from so many Town Fans about it! Then, to my utter surprise it appeared on the Telewag website the following day! Sadly, both tweet and story have since been removed – I don’t speak Italian and am beginning to wonder whether Mr Bonetti actually called me a donkey or something similar that would be the catalyst to more chicken slinging…. I shall continue to believe it was a heartfelt birthday greeting until proved otherwise!

 A great bit of banter, the most fun I’ve had on a birthday when I’ve been sober for a long time!!

 All told, I had 31 tweets. Including Nick Hegarty tweeting from Australia! We had agreed a limit of 25, so my pledge is that the initial £75 will be hitting Crowdfunder (www.crowdfunder.co.uk/gtfc) shortly, and the remaining £18 will be my pledge for a Harry Haddock shortly after payday!

 Thanks to Paul, and Dan for getting behind it and encouraging the participants! Thanks to Stu for not divorcing me in the process, and most of all thanks to everyone who tweeted me Happy Birthday!    UTM!   Sandi,

(Editor’s note:  between Paul and Dan and the Ivano-tweeter, we asked perhaps 50 players old and new, and for an impromptu ‘campaign’ it worked really well; thanks to everyone who responded.  In her excitement, Sandi has forgotten Darren Mansaram, Wayne Henderson and Murray Jones! Also Martin Gritton, and Phil Jevons sent late messages, and she forgot my own favourite two who were real ‘Blasts from the Past’; Scott McGarvey (who retweeted) and Gary Henshaw!  Our choice of players was pretty random, but it was great fun!  37 responses all in, and still potential for more late ones….. NB: This will not happen EVERY time a GTFC fan has a birthday mind, unless they have £75 or more spare for #OperationPromotion!?!)