A day to remember at Stoke City
MAN v FAT’s community came together en masse at Stoke City at the end of May, with nearly 100 players and over 400 supporters heading to the bet365 Stadium to celebrate a remarkable year for the weight loss programme.
The day saw both the National MAN v FAT XIs Final and the Amazing Losers Match take place, with some special memories made as the players took to the Championship side’s immaculate playing surface.
After a competitive first season of official MAN v FAT XIs, it was southern section winners West Brom who took on the northern section victors Preston.
West Brom were in the final for the second year running and started the match the stronger. However, Preston soon found their feet and had chances of their own, breaking the deadlock in the first half with a lobbed effort from Aaron Cooper.
The first half remained keenly contested and Preston doubled their lead with two late goals in the first half. Aaron Donaldson struck a beauty from distance to make it two, before Cooper grabbed his second just before the interval.
Facing a tough task at the break, West Brom gave themselves hope with a goal only seconds after the restart. Rikki Danton kept his cool to slot home and lift his side, who turned up the pressure as they sought to claw back the deficit.
Preston held firm, though, and it wasn’t until the later stages that the next goal came, with Danton getting his second to make it 3-2. If the northern winners’ nerves were jangling, they eased their worries five minutes after Danton’s second, with Johnny Baines scoring to make it 4-2.
There was just about enough time for West Brom to score one more with a far post header, but Preston were soon to be celebrating as the ref blew his whistle to crown them national champions.
Next up was the Amazing Losers game, featuring over 30 players who had lost 30% or more of their bodyweight on MAN v FAT.
Led by celebrity managers Jim Magilton and Peter Taylor, the Amazing Losers – who had travelled from as far as Fife and Plymouth, Swansea and Norwich to be part of the event – took to the pitch to try and claim the silverware on offer.
In another evenly contested game, it was Taylor’s Titans, made up of players typically from our more northern MAN v FAT clubs, who ran out winners in a scoreline that perhaps didn’t reflect the flow of the match.
They grabbed four goals at Stoke’s stadium, with Greg Hudson (Leeds), Abdi Ahmed (Nottingham) and Steven Percy (Wakefield) with two securing the bragging rights in the sunshine.
Plenty of new friendships were formed across the day and we can’t wait to repeat the day in 2024!