WATCH: Walking Football: A new lease of life in the beautiful game

The average age of Nottinghamshire footballers is skyrocketing, thanks to a boom in a new form of the beautiful game.

By Graham Smyth
Monday, 30th March 2015, 6:20 pm
Notts Fa walking football.
Notts Fa walking football.

Walking Football is giving the over 50s a new lease of life on the pitch and keeping them fit and healthy.

It has all the competitiveness that the full format of football provide.

But it’s played by five, six or seven-a-side teams, normally indoors.

And you’re not allowed to run.

In fact putting on a sprint to leave your marker for dead would result in an indirect free-kick to the opposition.

The rules might sound like they’re penalising those who have kept in tip top shape through middle age, but they serve as a leveller, to let everyone and anyone access what was previously dubbed a young man’s game.

Evidence of its popularity in Notts was displayed by last week’s inaugural over 50s Walking Football festival at Bar Lane Community Sports Centre in Nottingham.

Notts Fa walking football.

Among others, there were teams from Mansfield, Bramcote, Hucknall, Collingham and Kimberley battling it out, before Mansfield Senior Reds were crowned champions.

Club secretary Peter Mitchell is a big advocate of the sport.

“We were formed in October 2014 by three Nottingham Forest fans and the club has more than 30 members now,” he said.

“We’re open to over 55s, and our oldest player is a 75-year-old.”

Jody Caudwell of Notts FA says the benefits are not just physical.

“It’s very much in its infancy in this county, but it’s proving very popular and we’ve seen a massive boom over the last six months,” he said.

“Obviously you can’t run, so it’s not as strenuous on the body, but as was evident in our festival last week, it’s still very, very competitive.”

“The biggest benefit is actually social.”

“We’ve had widowed men who had spent their whole lives with their partner, and once they’re gone they’ve had no social life, but they’re now getting out and playing football, joining a team and meeting new people – it sounds a bit deep, but it’s given them a new meaning to life.”

“Walking Football has rescued a few people from isolation.”

The county is lagging slightly behind Derbyshire, but new clubs are springing up all the time, with Notts boasting more than 10 centres were Walking Football is offered as a weekly activity.

Clubs like Worksop Town are looking at establishing sessions through their Football in the Community programme.

For Peter Mitchell and his Mansfield Senior Reds clubmates, it’s a way of staying involved in the nation’s favourite sport far longer than was previously thought possible.

“It’s a new lease of life, still being able to play the beautiful game, and getting fitter in body and mind.”

Notts Walking Football Centres

Mansfield Senior Reds Walking Football Club

Who? 55 Years +

When? Thursday’s 11-12

Contact: Peter Mitchell - 07837 66 1703, [email protected]

Bramcote Leisure Centre Walking Football

Who? All ages

When? Wednesdays, 2-3

Contact: Terry Adam - [email protected]

Hucknall - Everyone Active Leisure Centre

Who? Contact to confirm

When? Thursdays, 1-2

Contact: 0115 9568750, [email protected]

Collingham FC Walking Football

Who? All ages

When? Regular basis, no set day.

Contact: Pat Douglas - 07947977813, [email protected]

Kimberley Leisure Centre

Who? Open

When? Mondays, 11-12

Contact: Laura Sutherland - 01159173572

Aspley - YMCA Youth and Community Centre

Who? Open

When? Tuesdays 10-11

Contact: Chris Hancock - 0115 948 9820, [email protected]

Southglade - Southglade Leisure Centre

Who? 55+

When? Tuesdays 1-2pm

Contact: Colin Ely - 07958296150 - [email protected]

BLCSL - Bar Lane Community Sports

Who? All Ages

When? Fridays 11-12

Contact: Richard Muzeja - 0115 9244 766 / 07984 590918

Lammas Leisure Centre - Sutton in Ashfield

Who? All Ages

When? Tuesday 12th May

Cost? £3 per session

Contact: Dianne Holmes - 01623 457233 - [email protected]

Selston Leisure Centre

Who? All ages

When? Saturdays 11:15-12:15

Cost? £2

Contact: Dianne Holmes - 01623 457233 - [email protected]