Swindon Town fan shreds nearly half his body weight

A boyhood Swindon Town supporter has lost nearly eight stone in two years through Swindon Town Community Trust’s Football Fans In Training (FFIT) programme.

Shaun Ferguson, who has supported Swindon Town for more than 41 years, has not looked back since signing up to the club’s FFIT programme in January 2014 and says after getting married, it is the most amazing thing he has ever done in his life.

Shaun, now aged 50, was 22 and a half stone when the programme began, and two years down the line reached 15 stone. The programme has helped him learn about exercise, nutrition and has completely changed his lifestyle.

Shaun running

Shaun completes 10k runs every Sunday!

“The fact that the team I support, Swindon Town, were running this programme, was so clever and gave me the motivation to join,” said Shaun.

“If you are a football supporter, this is ideal. It is a group programme, there is a collective mentality and not just you doing it, the whole group bond just like a football team.

“Every football team in England should do this. The FFIT programme has completely changed my life, I have lost seven and a half stone in two years and I go running every week, I have never done that in my life.”

Swindon Town have helped 120 men between the age of 35-65 lose nearly 1000kgs (155 stone) in two years through FFIT. The 12-week healthy living programme has been designed to give adults, aged 35-65, the right tools to live a healthier lifestyle and has been developed to include the latest scientific approaches to weight loss, physical activity and diet.

Shaun, middle, front row to the right

Shaun, middle, front row to the right.


Shaun continued: “We have started our own running group in Swindon. We have people that have completed this programme planning on running marathons in 2017.

“Every weekend we play football and this programme makes sure you become active. We are not only reminded how important exercise is, we are now educated how to maintain a healthy diet.

“The real eye opener for me was the portion sizes, what you were supposed to eat compared to what you are eating. It is quite scary.

“I can now tie my shoe laces bending over without being out of breath. The little things that you take for granted.

“Obesity is a real problem and it is a hard thing to get out of. For a football fan especially, a great way to lose weight is joining a programme such as Football Fans In Training.

“These types of programmes keep you motivated because obesity is a rut. I have been there and I know that. It is horrible for people that are in that position at the moment and it is so easy to fall back into it.

“It is a major problem at the moment and raising awareness of obesity is important. People are not as active any more as they used to be.”

The EFL Trust has given FFIT their full support and encourages clubs to deliver the programme as a part of the play the #2ndHalf campaign encouraging older adults to stay active. Find out more about #2ndHalf here.

If you’re interested in Swindon Town’s Community Trust’s FFIT programme email jon@stfc-fitc.co.uk.



Pompey set to host Sporting Memories game

Pompey fans are being asked to celebrate the history and heritage of the club and raise awareness of dementia, ahead of kick off during Portsmouth v Leyton Orient on Saturday, by recalling their memories of Pompey using #PompeyVoices.

Saturday’s fixture at Fratton Park is, in partnership with Portsmouth in the Community, The Sporting Memories Foundation, and ‘stranded-up-north’ Pompey fan Andy Tysoe aka @dementiaboy.

Recalling personal memories of following Pompey, be it a triumphant journey to Wembley, or an away trip to watch a ball stick in the mud on a waterlogged pitch on a wet Wednesday night can actually prove beneficial in our later years. These memories can play an active part in tackling dementia, depression and loneliness. Following the beautiful game is after all, about making memories, some of them great, but for most of us, memories of what might have been too. Some of the strangest details can remain with us as crystal clear as if they were yesterday. A particular incident in a game, a new chant that sprang up out of nowhere, a great half time pie or a horrendous journey up a snowy M6 to find the game abandoned can stick in the mind as clear as a Guy Whittingham volley. But sometimes those memories can fade due to ill health.

andy tyskoe

As a Dementia Nurse working in a busy general hospital in Cheshire, Andy aka @dementiaboy has created and delivered awareness sessions to over 6000 hospital staff, members of the public and people affected by dementia. These sessions are provided free in the North West through his #DementiaDo campaign, to anyone who wants to attend and learn more. They also challenge the misperception and stigma around the disease too.

Dementia Facts

  • Dementia is a brain disease, not a mental illness or a natural part of growing old.
  • There are many different types of Dementia; Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia are the most common forms.
  • An estimated 850,000 people live with Dementia in the UK.
  • Dementia is not just about memory loss, it can affect all sorts of things including reasoning, communication, movement and how we perceive our world .
  • People with dementia can continue to enjoy playing or watching sports, try out new activities and make meaningful contributions to their communities.
  • If you are concerned about your own memory, talk to your doctor about it sooner rather than later

 Pompey in the Community

The Sporting Memories Foundation works with clubs, communities, volunteers and across generations to help support older fans and helps them to continue enjoying sharing memories of their lives as fans or indeed players at weekly groups.

Find out more about the wide ranging work of Portsmouth in the Community at www.pompeyitc.co.uk

Tell us your greatest Pompey memory using #PompeyVoices

Girls enjoy an action packed day with Wigan Athletic

As a prize for winning Wigan Athletic’s  Girls Cup competition, year eight pupils from Golborne High School visited the club’s training ground on Tuesday to meet the first team players and enjoyed a training session with Latics academy coach Jay Cochrane at Wigan Youth Zone.


The pupils will represent Wigan Athletic at the Area Finals of the Kinder + Sport EFL Girls Cup tomorrow, a national tournament for junior footballers which offers children a once in a lifetime opportunity to play at Wembley Stadium before the Checkatrade Trophy.

Golborne High School were victorious against Hawkley Hall in the 18 team local competition at Wigan Soccerdome at the start of November, and they will now travel to Preston North End’s Community Training Centre, Play Football, for the next stage of the competition tomorrow.

The Kinder + Sport EFL Girls Cup is a six a side competition for U13 girls which culminates in a grand final prior to the EFL Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium in March. Each of the 72 EFL clubs organise a local competition for all schools in their area, with the winners of that competition going on to represent the club in the Area, Regional and National phases of the competition.


John Woods, P.E Teacher at Golborne High School, said: “The girls and ourselves as staff had a fantastic time with Wigan Athletic. The visit to the training ground was a brilliant insight into the daily routine of a footballer while the training session with Jay was great preparation for the girls as they managed to improve on a few things ahead of Thursday’s competition.

He added: “We really appreciate everything the club do for us. We’ve got a fantastic link with Wigan Athletic Community Trust, and it’s not all just about football because we’ve got coaches coming in to do sports such as badminton and basketball as well, so it’s a really fabulous relationship.”

The girls, who were the first school to visit Latics’ new training centre in Euxton, met the club’s first team players who signed autographs before their training session.



Steph Greensill, Girls Football Officer for Wigan Athletic Community Trust, said: “We know Golborne will represent the club well in the area finals, and we hope they can continue their run for form into the next stage.

She added: “We deliver 12 sessions of girls’ football a week, and have seen a significant rise in the number of females who attend. Tournaments such as the Kinder + Sport EFL Girls Cup help to get more girls involved in the game and are a great way for them to showcase their talents on national level.”

For more information about girls’ football sessions, which are supported by the Premier League, please contact Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Girls Football Officer Steph Greensill on s.greensill@wiganathletic.com.


Fitter Fans programme a huge success in Bolton

Fitter Fans, aimed at getting those aged 50+ more active and healthy as well as enjoying the additional benefits of taking part in sport has proven very popular with the older generation of Bolton.

The programme, run by Bolton Wanderers Community Trust takes place at the Macron Stadium weekly and offers a variety of light physical activities to take part in including walking football, circuit training, cricket and table tennis as well as the opportunity to have a chat over a cup of tea after the sessions.

Participant responses:

‘’I very much enjoyed the whole experience, made some friends and have started to do more exercise away from the course.’’

‘’Just loved it. I look forward to Wednesdays. As well as the activities it was great to meet such great people who made the group what it was. Great staff.’’

‘’My wife and I joined a Fitter Fans group in January 2016 and again in October 2016. The impact it has had on our lives, is that it is a healthy, enjoyable social event and we look forward to each week. Since first joining we have both lost weight and become a lot fitter.

‘’We have also made a number of new friends which is probably in the region of 40 people. We have also encouraged our relatives to join, who did. Although we all live locally it could be months or even years before we saw each other at events such as weddings or special birthday celebrations. Now we see each other each week.’’


For more information on the programme contact Bolton Wanderers Community Trust here.


Derby fan lost 6 stone through Active Supporters programme

Derby County fan Stephen Roper lost more than six stone in a year thanks to the Derby County Community Trust’s Active Supporters programme.

Stephen said he ‘’lost control’’ and piled on the weight after a series of ‘’life-changing events’’. He lost six stone, two pounds in one year under the scheme and says he has ‘’never looked back’’.

‘’There was an NHS health check scheme going on and I was asked by my GP if I wanted a health check there but there was another scheme going on through Livewell,’’ he said.

‘’I booked myself in for a health check and went from there really. They checked for a range of of things and nothing came back good. I overweight, my blood pressure was high – the only thing that was ok was that I wasn’t diabetic.

Active Supporters was developed through a partnership with the Derby City Council’s Livewell service, to help men get fitter, stop smoking, drink sensibly and improve their health and wellbeing. The programme is also based on the fitness and nutrition regimes followed by Derby County Football Club players so you can learn to eat and train like your football heroes through various sessions including football, gym circuits, bootcamp circuits, fuel your game and badminton.

BEFORE AND AFTER: Stephen Roper, left, in less healthy times. Right, Stephen after being in the Active Supporters programme.

Stephen added: ‘’After my health check, I was advised that I had been accepted onto a programme and one of the options was the Active Supporters group. I was pushed in that direction as a Derby fan and season ticket holder. So, I was introduced on to the programme and told what activities were on offer. A week later, I started on the classes. I did boxing and joined in the circuit groups and went from there.

‘’I started doing more exercise with the support of the team and I started thinking more about my diet- it was small steps right the way through it from the start. I was looking at portion sizes, what I was eating, what was good, what was bad and learning about the importance of having a balanced diet.

‘’To accompany that, I started cycling to work instead of using my car every day. I started doing more exercise because I was getting fitter. I started taking part in more of the activities on offer on the programme – and I’ve never looked back.’’

Stephen admits that he found it difficult at first and felt ‘’embarrassed’’ to take part, a feeling that quickly passed. ‘’Like any man, you perhaps feel more embarrassed to be taking part in group activities, in particular, when you’re a bigger guy, overweight. You perhaps feel like you’re not fit enough to take part but I quickly overcame that hurdle and I was encouraged by the like-minded people on the course.

‘’Even the social aspect has helped a great deal. It has given me new skills and new confidence, it has been brilliant. I have made a lot of new friends; people who I socialize with now and I’ve actually started playing football again which resulted from the scheme.’’

Luke Wilkinson, Active Supporters Team Leader said: ‘We’re really pleased for Stephen. He is a true inspiration for everyone involved in the programme. His commitment to improving his physical health has been superb and he has been a pleasure to work with over the past 12 months.

”I hope his story inspires more people to change to a more positive lifestyle with the Active Supporters programme.”


To find out more about how you can join the programme visit: http://www.derbycountycommunitytrust.com/the-movement/active-supporters.html




Rob Green on the perfect degree for football supporters

Leeds United goalkeeper Rob Green believes the BA Hons Business Management (Sports and Football) Degree is the perfect qualification for football supporters.

The former England international is currently studying to gain the degree through the Open University and the course uses case studies and examples from the football industry to help apply theory to real world situations. 

It is a way of learning that appealed instantly to the 36-year-old: “I wanted to have an idea what I wanted to do after I finished playing,” said Green. “The BA Hons Business Management Degree felt like a natural step for me to take. 

“It is hard work but enjoyable at the same time. The course is made up of numerous modules looking at different business areas and not just reading book after book. I have had to take case studies and apply them to real life situations.” 

The course, which is three years long for full-time students or six years for part time, is ideal for Green as the degree is remote learning.

Even though Green has one eye on his future after he hangs up his gloves, the goalkeeper still has his hands full competing for Championship high fliers Leeds United on a weekly basis. 
“The beauty of the course is its flexibility, it works for everybody,” Green added. “I have spoken to other people studying the degree that are fans and they are clearly looking to get into football. 

“People can study this course from all walks of life. Fans can apply their learning to the team they support. A number of people have done this and it has been interesting to listen to their opinions. To learn in an environment where you passionately care is brilliant.” 

Green’s career started back in 1999, when he made his debut for Norwich City in the East Anglian derby against Ipswich Town. Since then, he has made nearly 600 league appearances including helping West Ham United and Norwich City win promotion to the Premier League. 

Discussing how he feels the BA Hons Business Management (Sports and Football) Degree will benefit him in later life, Green concluded: “To stay in football in a non-coaching capacity is something that appeals to me. 

“I’ve looked at working with footballers during their transitional period from playing to retiring and finding roles for them to do and it may not necessarily be in football. 

“There are a number of avenues I would like to look at and they are ideas. Even if it takes me a while after I retire to find the right thing, it doesn’t mean that it is a bad experience. 

“People have many different jobs before they retire and the beauty of it is when footballers finish playing they are still young people and have a lot of life to live.” 

The next BA Hons Business Management (Sports and Football) Degree, which has no formal entry requirements begins in February, with the deadline for enrolment on Sunday 15th January. The following degree will begin in September 2017. open-uni-pic

If you have any enquiries or for full information, please contact the Open University today by clicking here.


New Year – New Career with a Football Business Degree

If your New Year’s resolution is to improve your career, unlikely as it may seem, then football might just have the solution for you. 

If you’re the type of person that lives and loves football, soaking up all the information you can on the beautiful game – then there’s now a football business degree that allows you to use your knowledge of football to get business degree.

Football Business Degree The BA (Hons) Business Management (Sport & Football) uses a range of football case studies and themes as a means to teach the principles of business. The degree, which is undertaken primarily via distance learning, is first and foremost a business degree that is applicable to a wide range of careers.

In most case the course can be funded via student loan. This means you can pay back via monthly installments but only when your earnings reach the threshold.

The degree has been devised by The Open University in partnership with EFL Trust and allows students to select specific business, management, training and sports modules to match their career ambitions with intriguing themes such as the economics of football, motivation, team effectiveness, and strategic management.

People learn best when they are interested and passionate about the subject. So using football, which inspires passion among millions of people, is a great way to teach the principle of business. Although this football business degree could open up a career in sport it can be used in any job that requires a management qualification.

Click to find out more