Steel City champion boxer Tommy Frank is urging Sheffield United to get behind an initiative
that will see life-size carboard cut outs of fans filling empty football stadiums, whilst also
raising cash for the NHS.
With Premier League football scheduled to restart behind closed doors next week, Tommy – a die
hard Sheffield United supporter – has teamed up with the ‘Stay At Home Be At
the Game’ initiative. The original concept is the brainchild of German superfan Ingo Muller,
who has organised over 20,000 cut-outs of fans to transform the stadium when his team,
Borussia Monchengladbach, play at home.
For the next two months Premier League matches will take place every couple of days, with
the Blades kicking off away to Aston Villa on June 17th . But with no fans allowed to watch
live, the ‘Stay At Home Be At the Game’ idea gives fans the chance to be at the matches …
kind of! The scheme will see a head-and-shoulders selfie of supporters printed onto a life-
size, waterproof cardboard cut-out, which is then installed in the stadium – with some of
the proceedings from the cost going to the NHS and other community projects.
Marvin Symes, who is behind the initiative in the UK, said: “We were disappointed when we
lost football nearly three months ago, but now it’s back and, in these difficult times, it’s
good to be able to focus on something positive. With no fans allowed at the grounds
though, we need to be creative, and this scheme is the perfect way for supporters to get
back involved with their clubs.
“In Germany, not only have they got the carboard cut-out fans, but they also added pre-
recorded crowd noises. It’s very clever, they play an audio recording of the crowd from
when the two teams last met, so you even get all the right songs! They are also using audio
flashes when someone scores, or makes a foul, so it all makes watching, and playing in, fan-
less matches more enjoyable.
“We have had thousands of fans from across the country sign up to get involved, and one of
the clubs that we’ve had some of the most interest from is fans of Sheffield United. The
Blades fans are absolutely fanatical, and really want to see the scheme adopted by the club.
We’ve had so many enquiries from them all wanting to get involved, especially after having
such a fantastic first season in the Premier League.”
Celebrity Blades fan Tommy Frank is Backing the idea. ‘Super’ Tommy, who was due to
fight for a world title back in March before the show was scuppered by the impending
lockdown, is a huge United fan, and has appeared on the Bramall Lane pitch previously with
his title belts. “I’ve been a Blades fan all my life,” said the unbeaten flyweight fighter. “I’ve
missed football during the pandemic but am delighted we’ll be kicking off again soon. I’ve
seen the German cardboard fan idea and think it’s a great way for supporters to get
involved, and get their faces on the TV whilst also backing their club. I really hope United
sign up to the project. Let’s get this going and fill Bramall Lane with cardboard Blades fans
for our match against Spurs on July 2 nd – I’ll definitely be buying one!”
“I’m a huge football fan, and the ‘Stay At Home Be At the Game’ scheme is a great idea. It’s
obviously been a really difficult time for people, so anything that puts a smile on people’s
faces is a good thing. This is the perfect way for fans to still feel like they’re part of the club,
be involved in the rest of the season, and a great way to raise funds for the NHS. With
Sheffield United being such a community-minded club, I really hope they do get involved.”
To find out more, visit https://www.beatthegame.org/