A host of top football managers have joined forces to give the most vital team talks of their careers, after chilling statistics showed prostate cancer kills one man every 45 minutes.
Twenty-three EFL bosses, including August's Manager of the Month trio of Neil Warnock, Grant McCann and Paul Tisdale, and Football to Amsterdam regular Simon Grayson, have teamed up with their counterparts from the Premier League, League Manager’s Association (LMA) and Prostate Cancer UK.
Together they are condemning the deadly disease in a series of passionate and life-saving messages as part of a high-profile campaign to tackle the most common cancer in men.
Shocking figures show that two men will die during the length of a football match, reinforcing the need to take action now against the disease.
As well as speaking out about the issue, football managers, many of whom have been directly affected by the disease, will be wearing Prostate Cancer UK’s iconic ‘Man of Men’ pin badge on the touchline during the 2017/18 campaign as the leading men’s charity cranks up the serious message.
Sunderland manager Grayson, who lost his best friend Steve Garbett to prostate cancer in September 2014 and has helped raise more than £100,000 for the charity, led the charge.
He said: “Garby’s brave 10-year fight opened my eyes about the dangers of this disease, and I’m proud to wear my Prostate Cancer UK ‘Man of Men’ pin badge on the touchline every game to raise awareness. That man represents you, me and everyone affected by this disease.”
Prostate cancer is also well known to Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who joined Jeff Stelling’s epic March for Men in June, walking 11 miles with the Sky Sports presenter.
Former Clarets chairman Barry Kilby continues to fight back against the disease and Dyche has recorded an exclusive team talk, urging men to take stock of the situation and be aware of the dangers of the disease.
Dyche noted: “There is still a lack of education about this illness, including my own, and there has always been an old-school mentality about not looking after yourself and thinking things will be fine. That can’t continue.
“I want fans – and men – to wise up about the risk of this disease. The ‘Man of Men’ pin badge represents everyone affected by this disease and reaffirms to people how serious it is. I’m delighted to support by wearing one and I’m proud the football community is uniting to help us do something great.”
Brentford manager Dean Smith has also praised the work of the charity as the club’s popular pitch announcer Peter ‘Mr Brentford’ Gilham battles the disease. Smith’s close friend Errol McKellar has successfully beaten prostate cancer.
He said: “When you see how the club has united to support Peter, it makes you feel very humble, but it also shows how dangerous prostate cancer is, and how suddenly it can strike.
“I’m proud to wear my ‘Man of Men’ pin badge just as I was to walk alongside Jeff Stelling, Errol and some inspirational men affected by this disease. I’m also proud of the passion my supporters have shown, and know the football family are following suit. Let’s make a stand against this dreadful disease and make prostate cancer a disease not feared in the future.”
There was also support from north of the border with Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers adding: “We all need to stand up and be counted. Wearing the Prostate Cancer UK pin badge – like me - helps spread vital awareness of the most common cancer in men. You can also help raise awareness by taking part or supporting the cycling, walking and golfing events that Prostate Cancer UK run.”
Prostate Cancer UK is the long-term Charity Partner of the EFL and is also a proud partner of the LMA allowing the charity access to football clubs, managers, players and supporters.
Their ground-breaking Football to Amsterdam bike ride, supported by the EFL, has raised more than £1.7m in the past five years, while Millwall and Scunthorpe United have both sported the Prostate Cancer UK logo on their kits.
What’s more, since 2014/15, Prostate Cancer UK’s distinctive ‘Man of Men’ symbol has been included on every single player’s kit as part of his individual squad number – the first time ever that a charity’s logo has been included by a domestic league on every player’s strip. Within each and every number will be the charity’s iconic logo, symbolising everyone who wants to stop prostate cancer becoming a killer.
Angela Culhane, Chief Executive of Prostate Cancer UK, said: “For many years now Prostate Cancer UK has teamed up with the football family and seeing so many managers proudly wearing our Man of Men pin badge sends out a really passionate message about what we stand for.
“These managers deliver crucial team talks every matchday, and we are proud to stand side by side with them against the deadliest opponent of all, prostate cancer.
“One man dies from prostate cancer every 45 minutes; it’s the most common cancer in men - but we can turn it around.
“From the Premier League and our ground-breaking partnership with the EFL to the grass roots game and some legendary names, football has proved to be an incredibly effective way of driving home our messages in a variety of ways to fans, players and club officials, many of whom previously had no idea about the dangers of the disease.
“We thank all the managers, clubs and supporters for their continued support; for marching for men, for cycling to Amsterdam, for collecting on match days and for sporting our iconic badge. United against prostate cancer, we can make this disease something the next generation of men need not fear.”
The substantial sums raised by fundraising such as Football to Amsterdam and Jeff Stelling’s March for Men will help ‘shift the science’ and crack the three core issues of diagnosis, treatment and prevention, which have been left unsolved for too long. It will also help provide support and information to those affected by the disease.
Many people are unaware that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It’s a huge issue that cannot be ignored. One man will die from prostate cancer every 45 minutes in the UK. That’s over 11,000 men a year. Based on current trends, if we ignore prostate cancer and do nothing, this number will rise to over 14,500 men a year by 2026.
To show your support and get a Prostate Cancer UK ‘Man of Men’ pin badge to wear with pride, text BADGE to 70004 to donate £5* and help stop prostate cancer being a killer. For information about the badge and the charity’s work in football visit prostatecanceruk.org/whostheman.
*Text costs £5 plus network charge. Prostate Cancer UK receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payers permission. Customer care 0800 082 1616. Charity No 1005541.