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Bids for Ebbsfleet United’s ‘Mambo No.5’ shirt hit £1,650 as Prostate Cancer UK fundraiser gathers momentum

PUBLISHED: 09:58 20 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:58 20 November 2017

Peter Varney and Yado Mambo

Peter Varney and Yado Mambo

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The club were inspired to act after vice chairman Peter Varney was diagnosed with the disease two years ago

Bids for an exclusive ‘Mambo No.5’ Ebbsfleet United shirt have hit £1,650 - and the figure continues to rise.

During Fleet’s recently televised National League clash with Leyton Orient, football fans sensed a missed opportunity when they noticed defender Yado Mambo wearing the number 18 jersey.

Instead, they argued, he should have been wearing number five, as a nod to the popular 1999 hit by Lou Bega.

Now the club appears to have jumped on the social media frenzy as an opportunity to raise valuable cash for Prostate Cancer UK, putting an XL-sized home shirt, with ‘Mambo No.5’ on the back, on eBay.

The club were inspired to act as executive vice chairman Peter Varney recovers from surgery after being diagnosed with the disease two years ago.

By Monday morning the auction had soared to £1,650 and with the shirt up for grabs until Thursday, the scramble for the unique item will offer a sizable cash injection to the leading men’s health charity.

Furthermore, German singer Bega has also pledged his support to a drive that has gained national attention.

Varney said: “I was diagnosed with prostate cancer a couple of years ago but the cancer gradually became more aggressive and I had to have my prostate removed.

“I thought about not saying anything but the statistics are too shocking to stay silent.

“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, and 330,000 men are living with the disease, that’s more than 73 times the capacity of Stonebridge Road. And one man dies every 45 minutes, which is something we need to turn around.

“Football in this country has been a great supporter of Prostate Cancer UK and their Man of Men pin badge is now well known and visible on the lapels of many football managers and pundits on all the main football programmes in this country.

“The more we can all do our bit to raise awareness of this disease, the better the outlook will be for men in the future.

“We wanted to give something back, and on the same day we hosted a match day collection, people gave us a bit of light-hearted banter for giving Yado the number 18 and not number 5.

“Following the momentum it picked up on Twitter we decided to give the fans what they want and auction a one-off shirt.

“If you’re over 50, I would urge you to go and speak to your GP. Please don’t be like most men and put it off; book a doctor’s appointment now. It might save your life.”

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, the charity says.

One in eight men will be affected by the disease in the UK in their lifetime, but if you are a black man those odds increase to one in four.

Mambo, who is on loan from Charlton Athletic, said: “I know the song well, and have had shouts of ‘Mambo Number Five’ all through my playing career, so this is nothing new. But it’s never gone as extreme as this.

“It’s mad how quickly this has blown up, but it’s absolutely brilliant and for such a good cause too. To think this might help to save someone’s life is great to know.

“I’ve known Peter for a long time and he’s done a lot for me in my career so to hear his news was a real shock to me and all the players.

“Hopefully the money and media attention raised from this will help make a difference to support men like him and increase awareness of the disease.

“If I’m honest I didn’t know much about the disease until recently, and I don’t think enough black men do. Hearing it affects one in four black men is shocking. It’s on my radar now, though, and I wear the Man of Men pin badge.

“There is no embarrassment checking with your doctor if you are worried and it’s something I need to sit down and talk to my family and friends about. The more men we make aware the better.”

Prostate Cancer UK director of fundraising James Beeby added: “This is an incredibly novel way of raising awareness of the fight against prostate cancer, and we thank Peter Varney and Ebbsfleet United for their terrific efforts.

“The power of football consistently helps us reach out to men and their friends and families, and we are very grateful for all the support from clubs from the Premier League, our partners in the English Football League (EFL) and across non-league.

“This is a great example of raising money and awareness throughout the grassroots game in an innovative way.

“We’re delighted Ebbsfleet have joined the fight against prostate cancer and thank everyone involved for joining the fight.”

To place a bid, click here.

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