Preston football team's fabulous weight loss leads to big win in national tournament

The victorious Stokoe Goblins team
The victorious Stokoe Goblins team

A team of determined footballers have scored a major victory as part of their weight loss journey.

Preston members of the Man v Fat league brought home the champion’s trophy from the 2019 national tournament at Manchester’s Etihad stadium - beating off 79 other teams from as far away as Plymouth, Scotland, Yeovil and Peterborough.

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The tournament featured more than 800 players.

The win by the Stokoe Goblins, from the Preston league, was witnessed by Preston’s very own football pundit Mark Lawrenson.

Today their delighted lifestyle coach Andy Horrocks, who leads the sessions, said: “Between 50 and 60 men attend our sessions.

“I weigh them prior to the football game and based on how much they’ve lost it helps with their goals scored. It’s a way of getting the lads exercising and moving.

“Some haven’t been confident enough to play football for years.

“I’ve had two or three men lost 10 per cent of their body weight in the last 10 weeks - that has definitely contributed to the success of the team.

“Between the 60 members they’ve lost an amazing 260 kilos.

“I’m very proud, they’ve done brilliantly. I’m so happy they’ve lost all this weight and are playing football again.

“The sessions help to tackle anxiety and depression in men, which is important given recent publicity about suicide.

“It’s about making friends and having a support network - it’s a team environment.”

The Man v Fat movement is similar to other slimming clubs in that its male members are coached how to eat healthily, encouraged to exercise, and are weighed at each session.

Afterwards the members enjoy a healthy game of football - and their total pounds lost that week contribute to their team’s score - in addition to the actual goals scored.

The Preston team’s ages are from 18 to 57.

Their referee, Mark Otto, said: “This is a great success story considering what they have achieved.

“There are some players who were 27 stone when they started and are now only 17 stone.”