Dancing On Ice star Ryan Sidebottom reveals new-found passion for Harrogate Town
Having called time on an illustrious cricketing career, Harrogate resident Ryan Sidebottom had to find a new way to get his kicks.
The former England and Yorkshire CCC fast bowler has in recent months taken to performing live on national television in front of a viewing audience of more than seven million as he attempted to master the art of ice skating.
And although his adventure on hit ITV series Dancing On Ice has only just come to an end, that new-found passion may already have been eclipsed by another.
Sidebottom and his seven-year-old son Darley attended Harrogate Town’s National League clash with Dagenham & Redbridge at the CNG Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Simon Weaver’s team might have been stung by a last-gasp Daggers equaliser, yet that didn’t detract from the experience for the ex-pace ace, who said he “absolutely loved it” and “can’t wait to go back.”
“My dad took my son Darley to a Harrogate Town game and he has pestering me to take him again ever since,” Sidebottom revealed.
“I haven’t had chance because of Dancing On Ice, but we went on Saturday and both absolutely loved it.
“I drive past the ground almost every day since moving to Harrogate, but I’d never been until this weekend. We were so well looked after, everyone we met was nice and there was a good, family atmosphere inside the stadium.
“I’ll be honest, I was pleasantly surprised. The team played very well, it was good to watch.
“I like non-league football. The referee wasn’t blowing his whistle every five seconds, it's just a shame about the result."
Born and raised in Huddersfield, Sidebottom has always followed his hometown club, but says that his fondness for the Terriers isn't exclusive.
"I've always looked out for the results of Huddersfield Town and Manchester United because my dad [Arnie Sidebottom, also a former Yorkshire and England cricketer and a footballer] played for them, but to be honest I'm just a massive sports fan," the 41-year-old added.
"I love Leeds Rhinos and my rugby league and now we've started coming to watch Harrogate Town.
"Darley is massively into football and has certainly caught the Harrogate Town bug. We'll definitely be coming back."
Harrogate's football club isn't the only thing that Sidebottom speaks about in glowing terms since he relocated from nearby Thorp Arch.
"This town is a beautiful place," he added.
"I absolutely love Harrogate, it's so nice here, that's why we moved."