“This is my view on Walking Football and how I feel it has been beneficial to both my physical and mental well-being.
A brief background on myself, I had been advised on many occasions by my doctor to look at losing weight and getting more exercise (by that I assumed he meant do some for once), as my health was suffering due to being overweight and having high blood pressure.
I had looked at walking football a couple of years ago but the times that they were playing weren’t suitable due to the hours that I worked. Fast forward to 8/9 months ago and whilst looking at the Stalybridge Celtic Forum I saw an article about the walking football team, Vintage Celtic.
After reading the article I went to their website to read more. That’s when I saw that the training times had changed to evening and could be a possibility for me. I decided to give it a try and went to the next training session, admittedly with a little apprehension as to what I would find. My concerns were, would I be made welcome, would there be negative comments as to my fitness and ability levels and would the walking football idea be something I would enjoy.
I have to say my concerns were completely unnecessary. I was made to feel very welcome by all the people there, the majority of whom made the effort to individually introduce themselves to me and ask how I was etc. They also let me know that all ability levels were welcome and when I started to play I was encouraged by all, even when I made obvious mistakes.
The whole session was one of friendly encouragement, with a little banter between people who had obviously been there a while. I managed to play okay for around 20 minutes, even scoring 2 goals, but by then my lack of fitness shone through and I struggled with the rest of the game.
At the end of the session there were lots of questions as to if I enjoyed it, how did I feel, would I like to go again etc. They were also telling me how my legs would probably hurt the next day and stories of how to keep going and it would get easier. I will admit to the hurt legs the next day, and for a couple of days to honest, but I went to the next session and things did get easier. It probably took 4-5 weeks before I got past the ‘hurting legs’ stage but it was worth it. My fitness level has improved, my ability has also improved (although some may quietly disagree with that one) and more importantly my health in general has really improved.
I have lost 2½ stone, and my blood pressure which was very high at 160 over 115 has reduced to 132 over 85 (still high but way better). My T-shirts and trousers have both dropped by 2 sizes, and I feel happier and more relaxed.
I can’t stress highly enough how much walking football has helped me and I would highly recommend trying it out with Vintage Celtic, if like me you are looking for motivation to lose weight and improve your fitness.”
“Is there room in the beautiful game for the fairer sex? You would think that this is rather obvious as we already have Womens Football in the FA.
On Christmas day 1917, at Deepdale Preston, 10,000 spectators watched as the ladies played and raised £600 for wounded soldiers. Then again on Boxing Day in 1920, at Goodison Liverpool, the Dick Kerr Ladies played St Helens Ladies with 53,000 crammed into the ground and another 14,000 standing outside while the Dick Kerr Ladies notched another win and raised £315 for charity.
The beautiful game had reached the fairer sex. Then disaster struck. In 1921 the FA banned women’s football and this set it back. However the Dick Kerr Ladies continue to play around the world until 1965 – they left an amazing legacy.
So how does all this fit in with myself? In 1977, I was talent spotted and started to play for Bolton and Lancashire ladies. This planted my love of the game, especially because I was, and still to this day am a true Bolton fan. So today, as we know, we now have walking football. So, what is the connection?
It was 18 months ago, I had heard of Barclays Walking Football – but was unable to find any clubs in the Tameside area. Then, one day while I was at my local swimming baths, I spotted a flyer for a walking football team. I promptly emailed the name (Bill Murney) and told him of my situation. At the time I must admit I was a bit wary of the response that I thought I would get. But I was wrong ….
He invited me along to one of their training sessions. I decided to go but was rather apprehensive to say the least. How many times could I be wrong? They made me feel so welcome and totally at ease. The team they represented are the amazing Vintage Celtic. I am now so lucky to be playing with such a great bunch of lads.
So friends, if you are female, and you would like to play this wonderful game, get in touch with us, and let us see if we can carry on the legacy that the Dick Kerr Ladies started during World War 1. We owe such a lot to them.”
“I saw a certain Credit Card Company adverts on the television featuring Walking Football and was immediately taken. I knew instantly that this was something I wanted to be part of and participate in but was not sure how to go about it, or if indeed it was just a parody or some Ad man’s idea of humour at the older generation’s expense. I discussed it with my youngest son on quite a number of occasions but I was full of trepidation.
I have been passionate about football since a very early age and enjoyed many a marathon kick-a-about on the park. I have never played at a higher level but so much wanted to give it a go. I eventually took the next step and looked to the Internet to research if ‘Walking Football’’ actually existed and where I could go locally to participate.
I looked at the various local teams in my area and found one which suited my purposes in the early evening as I still work full-time. I contacted Vintage Celtic and received an instant reply from Bill Murney and an open invitation to turn up at the next session.
I was instantly made to feel welcome by all the people I met on that first visit. This was August 2016. I have never looked back. I enjoy absolutely every second of every game. It is a great mix of lads!! and one lady, all of varying skills but who all enjoy it as much as I do. Players do encourage one another, commiserate when a pass goes astray or a shot goes hopelessly wide. All good humoured banter.
I have been lucky enough to play in one or two Walking Football tournaments at different Sports Centres. Playing against other teams in these competitive Tournaments is a great experience also.
I find it excellent for my mental well-being as well as my physical well-being in that I am playing a sport I love and getting exercise at the same time at 60+ years, something I never thought of in my wildest dreams. Yes there are aches and pains the following day or two but no pain no gain as the saying goes.
I am looking forward to playing for quite some time to come and enjoying the friendship and camaraderie on a playing and social level that participating in Walking Football gives back to me.”
“Despite my advanced years (68 now) I’ve always played football. I played 11-a-side league football until I was 52, the last 15 years or so in the Lancs & Cheshire League with Vymura (Hyde). When a group of us oldies finished at about the same time we continued playing 5/6/7-a-side every Saturday at Copley and still do.
I was introduced to walking football by the ex club captain, Brian Coll, about 12 months ago. I was approached by Brian to give it a go but wasn’t easily persuaded, the Barclays Bank TV advert did not conjure up a game I would enjoy but Brian had another crack and I was persuaded to give it a try ….and I’m so glad I did! My first experience was the League organised by Man City at the Etihad. Wonderful facilities, matches played competitively but in the right spirit. This was followed by a number of week-end tournaments in Summer 2015 where we gave a good account of ourselves, winning 2.
Since my introduction I’ve shared my experience with friends of similar age who play at Copley and, pleasingly, we now have another 6 or so walking football enthusiasts who have joined ‘Vintage’. It’s a game that can be played by a wide range of abilities and Vintage cater for all, as evidenced by our training sessions on Monday and Wednesday evenings.
The added bonus is meeting a new group of friends with a common interest, not only in football but walking football AND Vintage Celtic. Our ‘re-hydration sessions’ after Monday training and week-end competitions (in the ‘Lord Stamford’, Stalybridge) are now approaching professional standards! Long may it continue!
I would finally just mention a ‘thanks’ to Staylbridge Celtic FC for their support and provision of kit in competitions and the work undertaken ‘behind the scenes’ by Mike Smith their Community Development Officer, with considerable support from the Vintage players Committee, primarily Brian Coll and Bill Murney.”
“I finished my football when I was 26 to get married, raise my children, work hard and earn money. Now it’s time for me to play football again. I’m now part of a new team and a new group of friends. Love it! Stuart Greaves, age 59”
“My name is Tony and I am 64 years old. I found out about Vintage Celtic after going on an 8 weeks health and fitness course run by Tameside and Glossop NHS. I was disappointed to find out that after the course there was nothing organised to go on to, however, another member of the course said he did walking football and anyone was welcome to come along.
I had seen the Barclays Bank advert which shows people “playing” walking football while at the same time using their I-Pad to photograph it and thought that this wasn’t for me but as the only other option was to join a Gym, I decided to give it a try, and I am extremely glad that I did.
The game itself is nothing like the Barclays ad, and from the very start the other players, all of different abilities, made me feel welcome. I attend 2 sessions a week, Monday and Wednesday evenings and not only have I lost a few pounds, which makes me feel healthier, but by making a new group of friends I also have a better social life.”
“I would like to say how much I have benefited by attending regular walking football sessions. One of the best things about it is not just keeping active but enjoying the banter that goes with being with such a friendly bunch of people. Long may Vintage Celtic continue, come along and take part.”
“I have played and trained with Vintage Celtic a few times now and the various types of footballing effort that they present are top draw. Bill, Mike and Brian are very good at running sessions etc. Only wish I could give more of my time to them because the lads who play are a cracking set of lads and I would loved to have played with them in their prime. Well worth turning up for a session.”
“I started walking football just under 12 month ago at Glossop and I could not believe how many people were involved, I also play at Denton. I do enjoy the competitive side of the game, winning is a feeling just like when I was younger – brilliant. The pains a bit different, you cannot get over it as quick but when you win pain means nothing at all. I have met some new and some older friends. I am a diabetic so doing walking football has helped me to control my condition and I also lost nearly 3 stone. For me bring it on.”
“For me walking football has made a great difference to my fitness and well being. 3 years ago I had not kicked a football in anger, or in my case got in the way of a football for almost 30 years. It’s improved my level of fitness and sharpness. I enjoy the competitive side of the game once again. Socially it has opened a few more doors too, especially ones in bars but the less said about that the better.”
“Walking football provides regular exercise and good company for retired guys who may not get much in the way of physical activity.”
“I started playing walking football in September 2014. It’s been a new lease of life for me after losing my wife and suffering from depression. Mentally I am still in my 20’s and it’s great to relive your youth amongst people with a similar outlook. Although the knees aren’t what they were and the lungs have seen better days, it’s great to be still kicking a ball about at 72. The guys at Vintage Celtic are a great bunch, making all newcomers feel very welcome, even the ones with limited football skills”