'Well it all started just over 12 months ago when I was approaching retirement. I was working in Len’s (our Treasurer) house, and he said if I had a few hours to spare once I’d retired to come down and play walking football.
I thought I had hung my boots up for the last time 30 years ago! Well, how wrong was I? It’s now 12 months on and I dusted off the boots and took the plunge. I joined the “walking football” crew and I haven’t looked back. Although not as quick as I once was, I love being back on the pitch, the banter and most of all the football and the camaraderie with the guys.
Approaching retirement, I was worried that I would struggle filling my week with nothing to do and no structure. I shouldn’t have worried; walking football has become part of my weekly routine. I look forward to it every week, not only has it improved my fitness, but it gets me out of the house, and I have met new people who share my love of football. Another bonus is that our local group is affiliated with Market Drayton Town FC who sponsor the group. In return, I help out with the weekly games, organizing the car park and getting involved with the local community football scene'.
Back in 2012 I had a heart attack which knocked me for six, physically and mentally but then I heard about walking football in Wrexham near to where I lived which gave me the incentive to get back to fitness and enjoy at the same time.
Since then I moved to Market Drayton and literally kicked it off here as well, being with it from the start I have seen guys improve in all sorts of ways ranging from fitness to balance and better footballers with lots more confidence, on a personal side my fitness has improved so much. I no longer need to take blood pressure tablets.
I hope this helps towards understanding that walking football really does change your quality of life.
Chair & Player
‘Newly retired, I moved to Market Drayton two and a half years ago from Suffolk. So being new to the area and having no contacts, I searched around for activities and pastimes in which to get involved.
At that time, a local sports hall ran a walking football session which I attended in the hope of meeting new friends and getting some exercise.
From those early days a nucleus of likeminded guys has coalesced to form Market Drayton Walking Football Club. This was necessary as the Sports Hall were not able to provide the backing we needed to progress.
We are really building momentum now and have attracted a wide range of guys aged from fifty years up to mid-seventies. They hail from both the local area and further afield.
The range of backgrounds, abilities, state of health and fitness initially was vast but the one thing everyone has in common is not, as you might imagine a love of football, but a sense of camaraderie borne from an atmosphere of mutual support and friendship. Many are alone or lack social interaction opportunities, so our twice weekly sessions help combat this as well as keeping us all mobile and exercising regularly.
We always have a cuppa and chat afterwards and it is evident that this is enjoyed as much as the game itself’.
I started playing walking football about 2 years ago when I was 73. Apart from 3 or 4 matches for my Wrockwardine young farmers club I had not played football since I left school some 56 years ago.
I only played on games afternoon every other week (alternated with rugby). I have had both hips replaced ( 2012 and 2015) and I have a stoma and illeostomy bag after an operation for bowel cancer in 2018. I'm sure there are others playing with similar stories to tell.
If I can do it, anyone can!
Walking football has helped me a great deal over 4 years plus I have met new friends and it has helped my fitness although I struggle at times because of health conditions the lads are all there to help each other and the banter between us all helps a lot.
I really look forward to each session and I am gutted when we can't play.
I have been a member of MDWFC for six years, meeting twice a week to play walking football.
This not only helps to keep me fit but affords a social atmosphere where people of 50 plus years can meet and enjoy one another’s company away from their daily routine.
I retired in July 2019 after more than 40 years in design offices where there was always office ‘banter’ from my 20 colleagues of varying ages. I was not going to miss the work, but I would miss the people. The walking football group have helped enormously in filling the void left by not having day to day contact in the office. In addition to providing several hours of gentle exercise two days per week it provides contact with circa 20 fellow walking footballers from all different backgrounds who have the same love of football and also relish the inevitable banter which develops both during and after the games. A major concern for all attending is the health and wellbeing of each other with all games played in a friendly manner and we have a further opportunity to get to know each other better by meeting in the clubhouse after each session to have tea, coffee or a glass of beer. We have entered tournaments where circa 16 teams from the northwest paly in Manchester in knock out competitions and have made the semifinal on each occasion. In addition to meeting up during games we also have the WhatsApp group for members, which in addition to keeping members informed of what’s happening when has also served as a conduit for humorous anecdotes/cartoons/videos throughout lockdown periods helping to let us smile and aid our mental wellbeing during these Covid19 times.
Referee / Team Manager
Although I was an active gardener, growing our own food, I missed being involved with active sport. We spotted an article in the local paper concerning walking football and I decided to give it a try. My physical and mental health was an issue and I was very apprehensive when I arrived at the venue.
I need not have worried as I was made most welcome. Although my physical health prevented me from playing I was immediately asked to referee the matches. I had been a linesman, now called Assistant Referees) 51 years ago!!
Four years later and after over 140 matches I still enjoy being the Referee. I am now also the Team Manager for the over 60s league team.
My health is much improved (I know a lot more swear words!). I look forward to the many challenges ahead.
I owe MDTWFC a huge debt, there is a great team spirit at the club and I enjoy all the activities.
The club has grown and is now larger and successful but it still maintains a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
The last 4 years have been most enjoyable and I am sure the next 4 will be even better!!