Soccer legends Ian Holloway and George Elokobi come to Sixfields Stadium to coach teams who have lost a ton in weight

Football icons Ian Holloway and George Elokobi acted as guest coaches in an unusual game at Northampton Town FC’s stadium. The 22 players on the field Tuesday night (May 24) had collectively lost over a ton of body weight to get there.

The Amazing Losers Match took place at Sixfields Stadium. Holliday’s Heroes, named after their One Night Only trainers, took on George’s Greats in a true display of beautiful play. The game was unusually a celebration of the biggest LOSERS.

Players had to have lost between 25 and 50 percent of their body weight to qualify for the game.

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The game was organized by MAN v FAT Football, a program designed to help overweight and obese men return to a healthy weight through their love of football. Over 8,000 men attend over 160 MAN v-FAT clubs across the UK. In 2021, the program helped these men lose more than 43 tons of weight.

The Amazing Losers Match at Cobblers’ Ground was a celebration of those who lost the most weight from a number of these clubs. Some players and their families had come all the way to Tyneside to play and cheer for one another.

Most of the men had lost an average of four and a half to eight stones, with a total of 1,032 kg between them all. To make them even more proud of their achievement, the number on each player’s jersey indicated how much weight they had lost.

While all participants had performed well, Milton Keynes’ Colin Pereirra and Peterborough’s Caz Cusumano were two particularly deserving players. Together they have lost over 50kg, the same weight as an adult Rottweiler.

The number on each player's jersey indicated how much weight they had lost in the last year.
The number on each player’s jersey indicated how much weight they had lost in the last year.

Caz started MAN v FAT after a football injury and nervous breakdown that caused him to weigh over 111 kg (17.5 stone). One day, when he saw a photo of himself, he decided to do something about it.

“MAN v FAT got me through and kept me going, it instilled in me a healthier lifestyle. No more fad diets, no more no to eating, just simply eating calories and burning calories.

“I’m 78.5 kg now and I’ve got my 30 percent [of bodyweight lost] certificate and I was the first person in Peterborough to do so. We’re all supporting each other and it’s a really good crack.”

The reward for Caz and the other MAN v FAT members was to be led into the fray by George Elokobi, former Colchester and Wolves defender and legendary QPR, Leicester City and Millwall manager Ian ‘Ollie’ Holloway. Famed for his unpredictable post-game interviews, Holloway attended the game after giving a presentation night for MAN vs FAT last year.

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“I heard everyone’s stories and it was really moving. I met the whole Newport team and it was quite sensational to hear how football has helped them and their mentality.

“They don’t want to let anyone down, whereas usually they have let themselves down and forgiven themselves. Football has helped them overcome their difficulties with food.

“It’s so easy to get food these days. You used to have to run after it, catch it and kill it, but now it’s just there. It’s your choices that are wrong, and the people who sell us these things are freaking out Sugar is dead wrong.

“As soon as I met these people, I couldn’t wait to do it again. Hearing these people’s stories really inspired me and I’m very happy that football gave me the opportunity to meet these people .

Former Wolves defender Goerge Elokobi with his team George's Greats at Sixfields Stadium, Northampton.
Former Wolves defender Goerge Elokobi with his team George’s Greats at Sixfields Stadium, Northampton.

“I’d like to see a pile of all that weight they’ve lost piled up somewhere around here. How big would that pile be?!

“But if my team disses me at all, they don’t get on and they don’t get off. But it’s so inspiring to watch and I hope they enjoy it. In fact, I hope my team has more fun than George’s team. “

Former Colchester and Wolverhampton Wolves defender George Elokobi wanted to take part after being contacted by MAN v FAT. “There was only one place I wanted to be. I was so motivated and encouraged by their resilience,” he said.

“When I looked at it, it seemed like a great thing. It’s meant to help support these guys but at the same time encourage them to keep going.

“Not only football, but every other sport should do more to promote a healthy lifestyle. Health is wealth and when you are healthy you can achieve anything you want in life.

“Sport in general and football clubs should try to bring this initiative to their communities. It’s not about me, it’s about these players who did an incredible job. I want them to play in a professional environment and I want them to have fun.” be positive.

“If they do that, hopefully we’ll be better than Ian’s team.”

Both Holloway and Elokobi put their teams through their paces during the pre-game warm-up.
Both Holloway and Elokobi put their teams through their paces during the pre-game warm-up.

Both captains put their teams through their paces, with many looking exhausted even after warming up. Elokobi showed no mercy in his training routine, while Holloway truly engaged with his players.

All of the players did a great job during the game with some skillful dribbles and even some butterfly kicks. Meanwhile, loving and proud families and friends who traveled with them showed a healthy support.

But the trainers were just as entertaining with their dugout orders. Elokobi once asked the referee, “Are we playing rugby?!” and constantly argued with the linesman, while Holloway complained, “I want to change the umpire”.

After a 2-1 draw at the final whistle, George's Greats defeated Holloway's Heroes 3-1 on penalties.
After a 2-1 draw at the final whistle, George’s Greats defeated Holloway’s Heroes 3-1 on penalties.

George’s Greats led for much of the game before Holliday’s Heroes struck back in the second half to make it 2-2. But George’s Greats won the day after a 3-1 win on penalties.

Sixfields Stadium was chosen for the anniversary game both because of its central location in the country and because of Northampton Town FC’s partnership with the MAN v FAT programme. More information about the MAN v FAT program, including the nearest club, can be found here.

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