The Burnley Football Club manager tells us why he felt compelled to join our latest awareness drive in the world of football, and how he hopes to get everyone talking about prostate cancer on the terraces.
"Every 45 minutes, one man in the UK will die from prostate cancer. That’s one man during each half of a football match. Two men per game.
"In the 223 matches that I’ve represented Burnley Football Club on the touchline, an astounding 446 men will have lost their lives to the disease.
"The statistics are a harsh wake-up call to the fact that this is a disease that no man, or his family, should ignore.
"There’s still a distinct lack of education about prostate cancer, including my own, and there has always been an old-school mentality about not looking after yourself and thinking things will be fine. But this can’t continue and as a football community we all need to step up to the plate and put the disease at the forefront of the minds of fans, players, coaches and gaffers alike.
"That’s why I’ve teamed up with Prostate Cancer UK and a host of other managers in a bid to spread the word in the changing room, on the sidelines and amongst all terraces across the UK.
"I first became aware of prostate cancer when our former chairman Barry Kilby told us he was fighting the disease. Barry is doing OK but he really brought it home to me how important it is for every man to understand the threat that the walnut-sized reproductive gland inside him can pose to his health and speak to his doctor about it.
I turned 46 this year and in four years’ time I’ll be considered ‘at risk’ of being diagnosed with the disease myself
"I’m now one of an ever-growing list of football managers who wears the Prostate Cancer UK man of men pin badge with pride. It represents everyone affected by the disease and reaffirms to people how serious it is.
"Earlier this year I had the pleasure of walking 11 miles alongside the legendary Sky Sports presenter, Jeff Stelling, during his unbelievable challenge for the charity – 15 walking marathons in 15 days. As we trudged up and down the Lancashire hills, I got talking to some incredibly inspirational guys who were living with prostate cancer – some of them were not much older than me.
"I turned 46 this year and in four years’ time I’ll be considered ‘at risk’ of being diagnosed with the disease myself. Men over 50, black men and men with a family history of prostate cancer all face an increased risk. But if the disease is caught early, it can often be successfully treated. That’s why this awareness is so important.
"There are not many knowns in football and what’s in store for this season is anyone’s guess. But one thing’s for certain: when the football community comes together, it's a force to be reckoned with and prostate cancer doesn’t stand a chance.
"Awareness is the key to beating this disease and I will stand together with my counterparts – Mark Hughes (Stoke City), Slaven Bilic (West Ham United), Chris Hughton (Brighton & Hove Albion), Craig Shakespeare (Leicester City) and many, many more in a bid to get everyone talking."