Amateur footballers playing weekly matches as part of MAN v FAT football leagues have lost over two tonnes, or 4,400 pounds of weight in the last year. The leagues, which take place in Taunton, Bridgwater, Yeovil and Weston are specifically aimed at overweight and obese men, with over 225 players taking part across the county.

According to Public Health England data covering the year up to April 2020 around 65.8% of adults in Somerset are overweight or obese, slightly higher than the national average of 62.3%.

The FA-endorsed scheme was created by Andrew Shanahan, who fed-up with traditional weight loss classes primarily aimed at women, decided to develop a programme that combines the beautiful game with achievable weight loss goals for men.

Before matches, the players are weighed, which is followed by a 30-minute game of six-a-side, with extra goal bonuses awarded to teams based on the amount of weight players have lost.

Stuart McGarry has been taking part in MAN v FAT’s Weston league since July 2017, and dropped from 150kg (330 pounds) to 97kg (213 pounds) with the help of the programme.

He explains, “I would recommend MAN v FAT to anyone who is feeling no diet is working and they want to do something they enjoy but also have a great support network around them to succeed. The Weston leagues has a great network of guys who want to support each other and that helps when you’re having a bad week – the other guys are there for an extra game of football or a walk down the seafront to help.”

Meanwhile, Andrew Pritchard, who plays in MAN v FAT’s Taunton league lost over 25kg (55 pounds) after 18 months taking part in the challenge, while he was also training for the Three Peaks Challenge.

Andrew says: “MAN v FAT has helped me turn my lifestyle around. I would recommend it to anyone and certainly now see it as a positive routine in my week playing football on Sunday mornings and the motivation I take with me throughout the week to nudge the weight down a bit more each week.

“The central team and ethos of the whole programme make you feel part of a community, combined with the gentle encouragement of the coaches, and the non-judgemental and accepting approach of other players make it a great place to be.”

The Taunton, Bridgwater and Weston leagues all have spaces for new players.

Players can join up at and they can get more information by calling 0345 163 1042 or emailing

Additional information

There are over 20 million overweight and obese men in the UK, accounting for nearly 7 out of every 10 men. The issue of weight has become such a concern that a recent report suggested that the government should treat this as the number one public health concern. Despite this, funding has been cut to local authorities and men are nearly 300% less likely to get support for their weight than women.

MAN v FAT Football now runs over 70 leagues across the UK and Australia, with leagues launching in USA in 2019. MAN v FAT also supports more than 1.6 million men through their website (, their forum ( and social media (,,,