It’s time for the 16th sport in Michael’s epic quest, and we see him on a rainy astroturf field in Ashton, for once looking like (and being) the youngest person there. He is there to take part in walking football. What’s that you ask? Well the clues in the title so you should probably feel a little bit ashamed of yourself right now…
Women, Women, Women… no not me recounting the amount of girls I’ve kissed (that’s at least double 3, I’m quite the ladies man) but instead me reflecting on the people I seem to be spending the most time with at the minute. All the classes and sports I’m attending feel dominated by the fairer sex, and while the idea of spending time in dark rooms surrounded by sweaty women might appeal to some of you filthy creeps I wanted to see where the guys were at. I needed to do a sport with real men, with names like Keith and Barry, who wear Brut and don’t feel the need to moisturise daily. I needed walking football!
Now for those of you who are unaware, walking football is a version of the beautiful game specifically aimed at the over 50’s or people who aren’t physically able to take part in football anymore. It has sprung up over the last few years and I think it is brilliant and have followed it’s formation and growing popularity with great interest. It is exactly the same as football but you are not allowed to run, and heavy tackling is not permitted.
Now I love football and have had some great times playing 5 a side over the years, meeting and bonding with friends for life and getting out there for the buzz of occasionally playing a great pass or scoring a brilliant goal. This disappearing as you grow older and not being able to take part anymore is sad, and the fact that walking football could mean me and my friends are still playing into our 70’s makes me feel very happy indeed. Infact if you are reading this and fancy it, or your dad is of the age where he has stopped playing I’d would recommend going along and giving it a go, i’ll be dragging my dad down there soon.
So to the action and I was happily greeted by a field of men ranging from early 50’s to Bill who told me he was 71, though I wasn’t sure i believed this. Bill was the organiser and seemed very to have me there, as did everyone else which was good because I was worried they thought I would taking the mick by playing and writing about it, which was my last intention. As well of this one of the kids from my school was there to watch his Granddad, his support making me feel like walking football’s Lionel Messi.
The game kicked off and the temptation to run was high for me, and everyone else, as people suddenly remembered they weren’t allowed to mid jog. I settled into an unfamilar playmaker role, my normal thuggish football nature replaced by some lovely touches and passes. Pace has never been my biggest assest and having time on the ball meant I was knocking it around like a young Andrea Pirlo. The game was tight early on and the shouts of “watch Kenneth on the overlap” and “Great save Gordon” made my soul happy. You could see some of these guys could play and still had some great touches, plus the new guy Ronnie deserves a special mention for putting a lot of effort in to finally get his goal after several saved shots. I really enjoyed the game and was great to be playing football with a group of good guys, no matter the age or pace!
Plus you know, I scored two and set up three in a 6-0 win for my team and my fitbit showed I’d done 5,000 steps in an hour, so not so slow paced after all.
Sign me up Jose, just don’t expect me to run!
SIgn up at http://walkingfootball-tameside-glossop.uk/ or Find your nearest walking football centre at http://www.walkingfootballunco.ukited./club-scout or go to New Charter Academy, Ashton on Monday night between 6-7. It’s only £3 to play. Call Bill on 07433900290 for more information
Effort: 2 (But obviously I am not the normal age of player)
Equipment needed:£3 per session which was brilliant! Every Monday night at New Charter academy
Likelihood of doing it again: 7 (if i was 50 it would be 10)