AN Abingdon football club has helped 37 men lose 150kg – a total of 330 pounds - of excess weight across its first 14-week season.

MAN v FAT Football Abingdon, which launched in July, meets every Wednesday evening from 8pm at Tisley Park in Abingdon and was designed to help obese and overweight men lead healthier lifestyles.   

Aimed at men with a BMI of higher than 27.5, MAN v FAT is an FA-affiliated scheme which has more than 8,500 players taking part in over 170 clubs across the UK.

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The programme was created by Andrew Shanahan, who was fed-up with traditional weight loss classes primarily aimed at women so decided to develop a programme with achievable weight loss goals for men who like football.

Before matches, players are weighed, this is followed by a 30-minute game of six-a-side football, with extra goal bonuses awarded to teams based on their weight loss. Weight loss and match scores then contribute to teams’ league positions within a club.

Jared Fellows, who coaches MAN v FAT Football Abingdon, said: “This football club is totally unique, it’s unlike anything else.

“It provides men with a supportive, encouraging and inspirational environment, where their efforts not only benefit their own health, but their teams mates too.

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“It's incredible to see how quickly men's physical and mental health can improve when they engage in a health initiative that is designed specifically for them, and it has been a real pleasure to guide a great bunch of men to achieve their weight loss goals.

“Many of the men taking part had lost confidence and faith in their ability to lose weight, after several failed attempts previously, but have found the accountability and camaraderie that MAN v FAT Football provides, the key to their success.

“We have spaces for new players, and if you’re looking to improve your physical and mental well-being, we’ll be with you every step of way.”

Merouan Hemamda, a player at the Abingdon club who has so far lost two stone with the help of the programme, added: “The best thing about MAN v FAT Football in Abingdon is the brilliant team environment and the support from our coach, Jared. 

“For me, it’s great to be able to extend playing a sport I love, into my fifties. Add to that losing almost 10 per cent of my body weight in a couple of months has really helped.”

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In addition to football sessions, MAN v FAT players also receive off-the-pitch support including healthy meal recipe ideas and tips on general fitness.

The total amount of weight lost by MAN v FAT players in the UK currently stands at around 460,000 pounds.


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This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Abingdon, Didcot, Wallingford and Wantage.

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