Neal Ardley has joined forces with a host of top football managers to give the most vital team talks of their careers, after chilling statistics showed prostate cancer kills one man every 45 minutes.
Premier League bosses Rafa Benitez (Newcastle United), Sean Dyche (Burnley), Eddie Howe (AFC Bournemouth), Chris Hughton (Brighton & Hove Albion) and Marco Silva (Watford) have teamed up with their counterparts from the English Football League (EFL), 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, have been wearing Prostate Cancer UK's iconic 'Man of Men' pin badge on the touchlines during the 2017/18 campaign, as the leading men's charity cranks up the serious message.
Neal Ardley said: "From walking, cycling and match day collections, AFC Wimbledon have always supported the work of Prostate Cancer UK in a variety of ways and I'm proud to continue wearing their Man of Men badge on sidelines up and down the country.
"So many people are affected by this disease, more than you could ever imagine, and seeing that one man dies every 45 minutes just brings it home even more."
Neal is particularly determined to get the message out after discovering Kevin Webber, a lifelong Wimbledon fan and father of three, was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer at just 49 years old. While Kevin was given a two-year prognosis in 2014, he's defied odds emphatically through endurance challenges such as the Marathon des Sables, considered to be the toughest foot race on earth.
"It's affected one of our own season ticket holders," added Neal. "Kevin Webber was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer, yet has continued to take on epic challenges to raise funds and awareness. Kevin's incredible efforts are designed to make sure other men, including his two sons, do not need to suffer like him.
"The pin badge represents you, me and everyone in the fight against prostate cancer, and we need to stand together and turn things around."
Click on the link below to watch an interview with Neal.
Neal is among more than 40 managers to pledge his support across the football landscape, while Dyche, Simon Grayson, and Dean Smith (Brentford) have personal connections with the disease.
Former Sunderland manager Simon 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, is a passionate supporter of the Prostate Cancer charity's work.
He said: "Garby's brave ten-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."
What's more, since 2014/15 campaign, 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."
The substantial sums raised by fundraising through the season's football activities 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 the Prostate Cancer UK website.
* Text costs £5 plus network charge. Prostate Cancer UK receives 100 per cent of your donation. Obtain bill payers permission. Customer care 0800 082 1616. Charity No 1005541.