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Massive losers and the real winners

In the game where pounds count for goals, everyone wants to lose

Normally, if we announced we’d helped a football organisation lose more than 100,00 pounds then there would be justifiable uproar.

Not this time, though, as MAN v FAT have recently tipped the scales at 100,000lbs lost in the 29 months since the project’s launch.

The rapidly expanding – or contracting, depending on which way you look at it – league began with just 80 places in Solihull.

But MAN v FAT now have more than 8,000 players in more than 60 leagues across the country.

In September 2017 we awarded them £195,000 of National Lottery funding for 20 leagues, with recent new locations including Rochdale, Coventry and Bradford.

They have a remarkable hit rate of 95 per cent of players losing weight but despite the recent landmark loss, managing director Andrew Shanahan is not getting complacent.

“It’s an incredible achievement that these players have made in losing 100,000lbs,” he told the MAN v FAT website.

“It’s a time of celebration, but it’s also a point to reflect and to acknowledge the mistakes that we’ve made as we’ve grown.

“It’s a time to employ all of the lessons that we’ve learned to make MAN v FAT Football and MAN v FAT better as a result.”

The award made last September works on two fronts for us. The league helping to tackle inactivity, and our funding enables some leagues to be available for free – allowing those with an economic disadvantage to still access the project.

The 20 leagues funded by our award will see more than 1,200 men sign up, with the target being for 768 of them to lose at least five per cent of their body weight and to get active in the process.

“It’s been fantastic to see MAN v FAT welcomed in communities where it has the potential to make massive a difference,” said our executive director, Mike Diaper.

“These fresh ideas are vital because while many people aspire to be more active, they can feel that the opportunities available aren’t right for them or the barriers to taking part are just too high. Something new needs to happen.

“It’s a particular problem for men who are overweight. Much as they’d like to get back into the team sport they once loved, they feel they’ve literally outgrown them.

“The prospect of playing football against younger, fitter and slimmer men is daunting and un-appealing.

As are many of the weight loss programmes, which have traditionally been designed and marketed to meet the needs of women.

“That is why we thought MAN v FAT was such a wonderful concept.”

MAN v FAT marked the occasion of losing the 100,000th pound by producing an e-book Open in a new window with case studies from some of their star pupils.

One of whom is Glasgow’s Craig Rankin, who has lost a whopping 44.5kg – that’s seven stone – by getting active with MAN v FAT.

And he could not underestimate the impact his weight loss has had on his life.

“It’s been massive,” he admitted. “I’ve got a new job in my work with my new-found confidence. I don’t feel embarrassed to walk down the street with just a t-shirt on.

“I feel so much fitter, even recently ran 5km (not quickly, but I did it) and that’s something I could never have even have dreamed of doing just seven months ago.

“I’ve still got a long way to go but all of a sudden it doesn’t seem like that far. I can’t wait to see what the next few months have in store now.”

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