VIDEO: Star Blades striker Jamie Murphy backs ‘Fit Fans’ scheme after group sheds 81lbs

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Between the cold pints and the hot pies, life on the terraces can be hard on your waistline.

But one group of determined Sheffield United fans have shaped up in time for the new season – thanks to a new scheme backed by star striker Jamie Murphy.

Sheffield United Fit Fans launch their sessions at Bramall Lane

Sheffield United Fit Fans launch their sessions at Bramall Lane

Fit Fans, funded by Sheffield Council and supported by the Bramall Lane club’s Community Foundation, involves a group of nine Blades training together every week and learning about fitness and dieting.

The free 12-week programme of walking and short exercises takes place at the stadium before the fans are encouraged to take up walking football at the end of the scheme.

At the beginning, the nine participants weighed more than 1,000kg in total but their efforts have seen them lose 81lbs in three months.

Steve Cooper, aged 64, from Gleadless, has been part of the programme. He praised the scheme for helping him lose 9lbs.

He said: “It’s all very interesting and it blows a lot of myths and explains a lot of things.

“I’m eating better, a lot healthier, I’ve got a lot more energy.

“I’ve also lost a couple of pounds every week. It’s very good and Rob who heads it is so passionate about it. It doesn’t cost you anything.

“We are all in the same boat and we all want to lose weight. I’ve lost about 9lbs in 10 weeks. It’s up to us now that we know what to do.”

Blades striker Jamie Murphy said: “Obviously it’s a really good thing. It’s not just about changing fans’ diets, it’s about changing their lifestyles.

“It’s good to follow and see people doing well. I think it’s important not just for fans, for everyone.

“We get taught the right things to eat and do at the right time, so if the fans can follow that as well it’s going to make them fitter and stronger.

“The Foundation do fantastic work across the city, this is one of the schemes. The guys here tonight have done well so far and I’m sure they’ll keep doing well.”

Fit Fans is part of the Sheffield Council’s new healthy weight management service Why Weight Sheffield, which offers services for children and men and women.

It is delivered by Weight Management Centre – a national organisation that works with councils and the NHS.

Rob Ward, who runs the programme, said: “After our 12-week programme completes, they will know everything they need to know, and hopefully they will carry on together as a group, playing walking football.

“The people who come to the ground are mostly men, a lot of those men are struggling with issues on weight and health around their lifestyle.

“Sheffield United have recognised the importance of the programme and we hope more professional football clubs will see the value and bring it to their grounds as well.”