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Prostate United

Prostate United


Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Now Luton Town FC and Mick Harford are putting up a fight.


Hi, I’m Chloe and this is the Playmaker.

One story every day to make sense of the world of football. 

Today… the former Luton Town striker who thought he was invincible.


Which has been the best team in November? 

Manchester City? They’ve won three league games in a row. 

Aston Villa, with a winning start under Steven Gerrad?

You could make the case for Norwich under their new boss, Dean Smith. 

“Norwich City are in front! And it’s the skipper Grant Hanley who has headed home in front of the Barclay end to give Dean Smith’s Norwich City the lead! They’ve come from behind…”

Norwich City YouTube

Further afield, Rennes have given PSG a run for their money in France, winning all of their league games in November. 

But you could say that none of these teams has achieved more than… Prostate United.

Never heard of them?

Let’s go back to November 2018.

Stephen Gilpin and Ross Burbeary – medical staff at Rotherham United – were the ones who started things. 

“They’re 26 days into a month-long challenge running ten kilometers every day to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK.”

“I’ve always been looking for a way to…I guess emulate my grandfather who passed away from prostate cancer in 2010, and I just had this idea one day that doing an endurance challenge every day for a month would be a good idea. We coined the phrase Prostate United, and year on year it’s just grown and the amount of people taking part, the fundraising, has just gone to another level.”  

ITV News

This year, they introduced the option to cycle 25k per day instead of running 10. 

And there’s one club who have raised the most by far this November.  Luton Town have collected around a quarter of the hundred thousand pound target. 

They have a reason to.

Mick Harford is Head of Recruitment at Luton. 

He played for the club in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. 

“And from whatever angle you view it, Harford’s acrobatics were impressive. So, two goals on his return to the club and a 2-1 victory! Harford clearly a man with a sense of timing.” 

He has two England caps, notched up 582 English league appearances, and scored almost 200 goals. 

And he has prostate cancer. He’s 62 years old. 

“I’ve had all the symptoms, and the symptoms are not very nice. You know, the symptoms are up and down in the middle of the night three or four times back and forth to the toilet. Er, a very very slow wee flow, you go to the toilet and it takes forever, and once you’ve finished, you have to go back again two minutes later.” 

Sky Sports

Harford was diagnosed in July, speaking candidly about his illness.  

It’s no surprise that Luton fans have rallied in support of their hero. 

More than 60 staff at the club have taken part in the challenge.

“We wanted to raise awareness. We wanted to help people. As I’ve always said, if I can help one two, three, four people, that would be great for me.” 

Sky Sports

More than 140 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed every day.  It’s the most common cancer in men. 

And since Mick Harford was a player, diagnosis rates have increased by almost half. 

Mick says that he used to watch Soccer Saturday and see Jeff Stelling’s prostate cancer pin on his jacket. 

But he never thought it would be him because we like to think we’re invincible.   

“I know it’s a long road, still got a long way to go, but I remain positive as ever.”

Sky Sports

Yet in telling his story, he is raising awareness of prostate cancer among his peers… men aged 60 and over. 

And you’ll find lots of men of that age at football matches. 

And so Prostate United is raising more than just money.  It could well be saving lives too. 

Today’s episode was written by me, Chloe Beresford, and produced by Matt Russell.