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How MAN v FAT is helping men lose weight with football

MAN v FAT
(Image credit: MAN v FAT)

The Premier League season has only just begun – but leagues across the country are well underway.

Nearly 100 MAN v FAT leagues are running already this summer, with a further 35 set to go live.

The MAN v FAT football leagues put an inventive spin on the beautiful game. It's where the biggest losers are the biggest winners: the teams who shed the most pounds are the ones who get the (metaphorical) podium finishes here.

It's not a programme that judges on technical ability; it's about trying to find a way of making losing weight more fun. Almost 6,000 guys participate every week in a COVID-safe manner – with individuals as well as teams able to sign up – and 90% of participants lose weight.

Those who sign up take part in training to improve their football ability, and get tips on how best to approach losing weight, but they're given the responsibility to do it themselves.

Here are some of the stars so far:

Star coach: Mark Storey

Mark puts 110% effort into coaching and facilitating local leagues around him. Mark has facilitated at the Ipswich league for many years and is a highly respected member of their community. During the lockdown, Mark continued to offer support to both his league members in Colchester Shrub End as well as those in other leagues around him. It is no surprise that the leagues that he is involved in retain good member numbers and that the guys involved enjoy a successful weight loss journey.

Individual stars

Ryan Hickson

MAN v FAT

(Image credit: MAN v FAT)

Ryan joined us in Crewe for the restart of our first season following lockdown. After the first season he finished with a huge loss of just over 17% of his bodyweight and has kicked off this season with two straight losses. He was edged out for top scorer in the first season by Dave, by a single percent, both pushing each other all the way to the final weigh in and helping their team Real Madras win the inaugural season.

On the pitch, Ryan has been one of the biggest improvers week in week out. It doesn’t go unnoticed with regular comments about his progression. He always mentions how he’s never played outfield before but you seriously couldn’t tell watching him. To top off all of his success, he’s also just the nicest most genuine guy you could hope to meet. We all enjoy the many stories he has to tell, from meeting every celeb possible at conventions to the tales of his time in ludo sport (lightsabre fighting). We’re very lucky to have him at Crewe and follow his success with the scheme.

David Goodfellow

MAN v FAT

(Image credit: MAN v FAT)

Dave is a MAN v FAT after also having success in Stoke. He has since become the coach of the Stoke league and had to take a step down as player to do so. With Crewe opening up he jumped at the chance to get back out on the pitch and back on the weight-loss wagon.

He was our top loser in Crewe’s first season topping over a phenomenal 18% lost in a single season and really setting the standard for the rest of the league to follow. He’s been massive in offering help and advice whilst we got underway in Crewe, to both the players around him and to the new coach in Crewe, Sam Thorne. He’s been a real asset to have in Crewe and but for an injury in the first week of this season, and we’re sure he’d be back battling for top spot in weight loss again this season.

Jordan Shufflebotham

MAN v FAT

(Image credit: MAN v FAT)

Shuff has been part of the Stoke league on and off for many years. In his first season since returning he smashed over 15% lost and is hurtling towards 20% after just two weeks of the new season. Shuff has a real knack of knowing how to lose weight and sticking to his routines and the Stoke members are all in awe of the work he puts in at the gym to help shift the weight. As mentioned, on the pitch he;s a superb goalkeeper and always keen to help out sides that are short and get involved in midweek games for extra game time. He’s also stepped in to help the Crewe 11s side out as goalkeeper for the national 11 a side tournament. It’s truly great to have him back involved with us.  

Star club: Big Green Machine (Falmer)

MAN v FAT

(Image credit: MAN v FAT)

The Big Green Machine have enjoyed an exceptional season on the South Coast, with four players in the top ten losers in the league. This includes the top loser who hit his 15% weight loss this season - Duncan Ladkin joined at the restart after lockdown, and has only once had a small weight gain during his time with MAN v FAT.

Big Green Machine sit 4th in the Falmer league and they deserve plenty of credit for this, as they have the highest average age and range from 25 to 62. Their team spirit is demonstrated by the fact that they also have two long term injured players who still come to weigh in whenever then can to contribute to the team bonuses.

Great work chaps!


Think you could match any of that? You can sign up to play a weekly game of football in a MAN v FAT league if you have a BMI of 27.5 or over, and you’ll get expert advice on how to lose weight – with the rest left up to you. The leagues are about wanting to lose weight and enjoying football, not having pressure to stick to strict regimens. You’re not aiming for the Brisbane Olympics 2032, after all.

Joining up also gives you access to SilverCloud, an online mental health and wellbeing app, and The Other Room Gym, an online gym with a wide range of classes, as well as becoming part of a supportive community of thousands on the MAN v FAT Facebook page. You can sign up to play with MAN v FAT from just £27.50 a month at www.manvfatfootball.org – or find out more on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.