Walking football; oldies football; jogging futsal, call it what you will.
Grimsby Corinthians Walking Football business card
Three times a week I get to kick a ball with a great group of friends. Come match day we all look out of our house windows; if it’s raining we curse; if it’s dry we smile. But to a man we get there regardless of the weather. Who are these people? All are over 50; most over 60 and some like me are in the septuagenarian group.
Walking football has grown alarming fast, the FA is only just starting to get to grips with the games development; thankfully we now have a set of FA Laws for walking football. Whilst the FA stalled fragmented groups and associations around the country tried to step into the void. Hence not every game or tournament is presently played to FA Laws. That said I’m sure the time is not far away when we all play FA Laws. This has to happen for two reasons:
1: All trained referees are affiliated to the FA, the FA provides training; the FA will not sanction their referees to referee tournaments that are not affiliated to FA.
2: Referees need one set of Laws, imagine turning up to referee an eleven a-side game and each mini association had different laws.
Kevin Bryant business card; contact me for local walking football news and opportunities
When I first started at Bradley we played 5 vs. 5 with small mini goals; staff often played to make up the ten. Last Monday seventy plus players played in session; I hasten to add free bacon and chip butties was on offer. That said they would have still hit fifty plus. The Tuesday session I attend had twenty playing in atrocious weather. Thursday fifty plus and Lincs Inspire will get another twenty four plus Friday.
The ball pings around similar to the Premiership, or that is the mental message we are receiving. One thing has happened for certain, we have all benefited mentally and physically from our efforts.
Just like the games in the park back when I was a ten year old, rules was tweaked to match the abilities of the players; remember when the goals size was adjusted if one team had a great goalkeeper and the other the fat lad who was never going to make a save in the top corner? Our oldies games are like that, the aim of the organiser is to select teams that will draw, not demobilise the opposition to the point you don’t see them again. Wonderful to have those days’ back.
Coach Kevin Bryant guides youngsters on the Futsal training session at the YMCA in Grimsby.
PICTURE: Rick Byrne / Grimsby Telegraph
I have organised my own mixed age groups YMCA indoor sessions for few years now. Each year the group gets fitter and their technique and tactical choices better. There is no age to stop playing football. Why did I think when I finished playing at the early age of thirty the football world had closed? Yes I know I have had a journey as a coach and referee, but it’s not same as playing. Now look at me, seventy two and all I want to do is get of the house and kick a ball. Come and join me, you will be made welcome.