Luton Town have announced that on 24th March for their match against Wycombe Wanderers, Kenilworth Road will be renamed the Prostate Cancer UK Stadium.The renaming will be for this match alone.
In an unprecedented move, the Hatters have joined forces with The Football League’s Official Charity Partner, Prostate Cancer UK, to rename their home of 110 years. It will also be the first time a Football League club’s stadium will have been renamed in support of a charity.
Prostate Cancer UK – the Official Charity Partner of The Football League since 2012 – aims to reach millions of football supporters through engagement activity across football grounds to raise awareness of a disease that kills one man every hour in the UK. The charity are calling on Football League fans to join ‘Men United’ and get together with their mates to help beat prostate cancer. What’s more, this season every Football League player’s shirt number carries their Man of Men logo, the first time ever that a charity’s logo has been included by a domestic league on every player’s strip.
10,000 men die from prostate cancer every year. This is the capacity of Kenilworth Road. One in eight men in the UK are diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lives, and prostate cancer also affects one in four black men. 300,000 men are affected by prostate cancer each year.
The renaming Kenilworth Road was first alluded to in the club’s Morecambe matchday programme, in Chairman Nick Owen’s notes. Hatters chief executive Gary Sweet told lutontown.co.uk: “We are extremely proud to be the first club to partner with a charity such as Prostate Cancer UK by renaming our stadium, albeit temporarily.
“When we first hinted at the idea we were met with a mixed reaction – which is understandable given the history of the ground, and the amount of affection our supporters hold for Kenilworth Road.
“We felt sure that once the full story emerged about our supporting Prostate Cancer UK, our supporters would understand and fully support the move. The aim was not to mislead people as to our intentions, but to get people talking about the renaming of the stadium and to raise as much interest as possible ahead of this announcement.
“Given the statistics, there’s every chance that by helping to increase the awareness of this disease and the charity, that someone’s son, father or grandfather could be helped by spotting the signs early and seeking help.
“This is a first for Luton Town and a first in football and we are delighted to be teaming up with a charity which has supported the game, in particular supporters and players past and present, so well.”
Prostate Cancer UK Director of Fundraising, Mark Bishop, said: “Men United is about men joining together to fight a common opponent – prostate cancer. By teaming up with our friends from Luton Town for what we believe to be an unprecedented opportunity to reach men, we are continuing to spread the message about a disease that kills one man every hour in the UK.
“Renaming one of the country’s most iconic grounds, Kenilworth Road, offers us a wonderful and innovative opportunity to continue our ground-breaking work within the beautiful game standing side by side with a club that have never been afraid to push the boundaries throughout their history.
“The power of sport – and in this case football – has helped us reach out to men and their friends and families, and by wearing our Man of Men on their numbers this season, Luton’s players have already started to play their part.
“We thank the club’s players, staff and supporters on behalf of the 300,000 men living with prostate cancer in the UK.”
The club will be holding a press conference at The Prostate Cancer UK Stadium on Monday to discuss the name change ahead of the match, while on Tuesday evening, volunteers from the charity will be fundraising and raising awareness around the ground. There will also be a bumper 100-page programme to mark the occasion.