Former Norwich City star Danny Mills cooks up a treat on Celebrity Masterchef
Former Norwich City star Danny Mills was often the player rival fans loved to hate - so he said it was good that his success on Celebrity Masterchef did not rely on the public's votes.
The former Sprowston High School pupil, who made more than 70 appearances for the Canaries, made his first appearance on the hit BBC2 cookery show at 6.30pm yesterday.
It's a busy month for the former England star, who will also take part in the first ever Archie Mills Memorial Challenge on September 22.
Mr Mills and his wife Lisa lost their son Archie to spina bifida 10 years ago and, as patron for the charity Shine, which supports more than 10,000 babies, children and adults living with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, he will cycle over 200 miles from Leeds to London and then, the following day, complete the Olympic-Plus distance of the Virgin Active London Triathlon.
He said: 'I have always enjoyed cooking. When I played I took it quite seriously as food was an essential part of trying to keep fit and healthy. Luckily, through my career I was able to eat in some of the great restaurants of the world, and it became something of a passion.'
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The public does not get to cast its vote for contestants on Celebrity Masterchef, as per other shows, and he said that was good, as people's perceptions of him were not always favourable - due to his 'hard man' image on the pitch.
The 35-year-old, who went on to play for Charlton, Leeds United, Middlesbrough, Manchester City and Derby, as well as picking up 19 caps for England, retired from football two years ago and now works as a TV and radio pundit.
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He added that appearing on the cooking show was one of the most stressful things he had done since hanging up his boots.
He said: 'To have to cook, prepare and cook again, all with the cameras on you, and then produce something acceptable to the judges was very stressful. It will be interesting to see how they put the show together. I did my best and people will just have to make up their own minds about me.'
Meanwhile, his journey on the Archie Mills Memorial Challenge will begin in the early hours of Saturday, September 22, and he hopes to cover the miles in six stages in just 13 hours 45 minutes.
He said: 'It's hard to explain how essential the work of Shine is, what we went through in losing Archie was terrible, the advice and support from Shine enabled us to cope at a time when all seemed lost.
'I have done 100 miles in training, but what I'm doing on September 22, will mean me having no sleep, effectively. People want to see you in serious pain or having a near death experience before they donate.'
In addition to the physical challenge he is taking on, he will also be promoting a celebrity cookbook by Rebecca Morris, who has a debilitating form of hydrocephalus. She collated over 20 celebrity recipes for the book.
For more information about Shine or The Archie Mills Memorial Challenge, call Tom Scott on 07768 669708 or email email@example.com
To join Danny on the ride, contact Andrew Ellis on 01733 421307 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/ArchieMills or Text ARCH90 followed by �1,2,3,4,5, or 10 to 70070.