Tubby football legends shape up for TV show to lose 40 stone collectively

A team of England football legends are kicking off a strict fitness regime for a TV show that could see them collectively lose 40 stone.

John Barnes, 54, Robbie Fowler, 43, Paul Merson, 50, and Neil “Razor” Ruddock, also 50, are part of an all-star squad shaping up for a game against a team of Nineties international rivals.

They are joined by David Seaman, 54, Mark Wright, 55, Matthew Le Tissier, 49, Chris Waddle, 57, Rob Lee, 52, Ray Parlour, 45, Lee Sharpe, 47, Steve Howey, 46, and Mark Chamberlain, 56.

The aim of ITV’s Match Fit programme is to highlight eating well and keeping fit in middle age.

One insider said: “It’s fair to say some will have a far harder journey than others. The fun will be watching who gets fit – and who doesn’t.”

The team, managed by veteran boss Harry Redknapp, 71, will be constantly monitored to see how well they are keeping on track.

It has been a long time since any of the team have played professionally and all have seen their waistlines expand.

Ex-Liverpool striker Fowler should have a good chance of getting fit, having only retired in 2012, as should defender Wright, his former teammate, who now runs a soccer school.

Former Newcastle midfielder Lee could pick up training tips from footballer sons Olly and Elliot, along with ex-Portsmouth defender Chamberlain, dad of Alex and Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Losing weight could be tougher for some who now work in the media. Ex-Liverpool winger Barnes has piled on weight since becoming a US TV pundit, as has ex-Arsenal goalie Seaman, who was in Dancing on Ice in 2015.

Ex-Southampton striker Le Tissier and ex-Arsenal winger Merson are Sky Sports pundits.

Ex-Arsenal midfielder Parlour is a pundit on BBC Radio 5 live, while Newcastle winger Waddle and defender Howey also have radio gigs.

Former Man United winger Sharpe has become a reality TV star and ex-Liverpool defender Ruddock has appeared in shows including James May’s Man Lab.

ITV’s Kate Teckman said: “Entertaining, with scale and purpose, we are finally going to answer the age-old question ‘Who ate all the pies?’”

The two-part mini series will air next year.

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