First Women’s Walking Football Competition Honours Pioneers

The very first women’s national walking football tournament is set to take place in Preston, Lancashire on Sunday 2nd July 2017 to commemorate 100 years of the Dick, Kerr Ladies.

In the history of women’s football, The Dick, Kerr Ladies are the most successful team in the world. They were formed at the Dick, Kerr & Co Ltd munitions factory in Preston, Lancashire during the First World War, these very ordinary factory girls from Preston quite literally took the country by storm.

On Christmas Day 1917, 10,000 spectators came to Deepdale, the home of Preston North End Football Club, to witness the start of the most phenomenal success story in the history of women’s sport. Dick, Kerr Ladies notched up the first of many famous victories whilst raising £600 for wounded soldiers.

On Boxing Day 1920, 53,000 spectators packed into Goodison Park, Everton, to see the Dick, Kerr Ladies take on St Helens Ladies, with another 14,000 people locked out and unable to gain admission to the ground. Another victory was recorded for the Dick, Kerr team and an incredible amount of £3,115 was raised for charity.

During the War the Government appointed women welfare supervisors and sent them into the factories to oversee the physical well-being of the factory girls and encourage the development of sporting activities. Among those activities was football, and football became the official sport of the munitions girls. Almost every factory across the United Kingdom involved in war work, had a ladies football team.

Incredibly, in 1921 the FA banned womens football, setting back the development of the womens game for decades. However, the Dick, Kerr ladies continued to play football around the world until 1965 leaving behind a glittering legacy.

For more on the story of the Dick, Kerr Ladies visit www.dickkerrladies.com

Tournament Details

The first national women’s walking football competition will be held in Preston on 2nd July 2017 to commemorate 100 years of the Dick, Kerr Ladies.

  • Teams of 6-A-Side Women (squad of up to 9 women players with flexi-substitutions)
  • Two age groups – Over 40’s and Over 50’s
  • Over 50’s Teams must consist of over 50’s Women (with two women players under 50 permitted, but with only one under 50 on the pitch at any time)
  • Over 40’s Teams must consist of over 40’s Women (with two women players under 40 permitted, but with only one under 40 on the pitch at any time)
  • National Tournament Official Rules and more information at www.walkingfootballunited.co.uk
  • Entry fee £30 per team – plus admin fee of £2.45 if booking online at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dick-kerr-ladies-cup-national-womens-walking-football-
  • tournament-tickets-28311050113
    Closing date for entries 30th April 2017.

For further information contact mel@pne.com

Doncaster Legend Thrives at Foundation’s Walking Football

Prolific striker in his heyday, Laurie Sheffield notched an impressive 34 goals in just 58 games during his first of two spells at Doncaster Rovers – way back in 1965. Just last week, the 77 year old bagged himself a hat-trick in the same neck of the woods.

Laurie still gets to kick a ball about three times a week in his beloved Rovers shirt through the Walking Football programme, which was established by Club Doncaster Foundation last year.

The project is targeted at adults who are less active but still have a love and passion for football and allows both men and women to participate in the walking format of the game.

Perfect for former Rovers and Newport County AFC forward, Laurie who fittingly celebrated his return to the game at the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday during the interval of the clash between the two sides.

“At first I thought, walking football! Is that a really a thing? But I’ve been involved for 12 months now and I’ve loved every minute.” He said. “There’s no substitute for actually being on the pitch and I can play the game I love again.”

“It releases you. When you come down here, every other problem in your life goes away.”

“For example, my wife is poorly and as much as you’ve got to get your priorities right and I’ll always look after her, sometimes we’re on each other’s backs so it’s good for both of us for me to release a bit of tension away on the pitch.”

Since its establishment, the project has completely blossomed and the initial target of 20 players has been well surpassed with 64 participants at regular sessions.

Jan Milner who been instrumental to this success explains the importance of the programme. “Walking football breaks barriers.” She said. “People often think they can’t do it but as soon as they get here they realise that actually, they are capable and it will change their life.”

“The beauty of it is that is has everything that football offers, the exercise, the competition, even down to the banter and the social aspects. It gives people the opportunity to not only re-live their footballing memories but also create new ones.”

As well as the sessions, Jan has also organised an open evening to host activities, a quiz and a ‘trip down memory lane’ on the 6th of October, which will hopefully also become a regular thing to allow an alternative to training over the winter months.

To find out more information please click here.

Men’s Health Week

It’s Men’s Heath Week this week. In keeping with one of our main goals ‘health’, our Walking Football project engages thousands of older men each year, providing an opportunity for them to live out their dreams whilst providing an excellent way to keep healthy both physically and mentally. As you get older, the opportunities to keep fit decrease, and are often limited to isolated activity, Walking Football allows the older generation to play a competitive sport in a more sociable environment. Subsequently the men return week after week and the health benefits can be massive!


Sean’s story:

“Most of our players have retired and you reach that stage where you’re looking around and wondering what to do with your life. It’s important to stay active but you’re also not as mobile as you once were and it’s hard to find things to do that you enjoy. Walking football gives us lots of motivation, the camaraderie is great and importantly it helps us to get fitter. I joined because I had diabetes and the nurse said I had to lose some weight, and by playing walking football I have and feel miles better for it. 

It’s always fun and the game can be enjoyed no matter how old you get- our oldest player is 81! However when the guys get fitter if they want to do something more competitive it’s great to have competition like the EFL Trust’s Walking Football Cup that they can get involved in”.

 

Walk On, Walk On

Over a thousand men from across the country have been competing for a place at the prestigious St Georges Park for the Walking Football National Finals next month. Providing participants with an opportunity to live out their dreams by representing their local team, the game is a brilliant way for the older generation to stay active. Growing year-on-year, 51 of the 72 clubs took part this year, making the competition tougher than ever.

Allowing the older generation to participate in a sport that they love. The slow-paced version of the game which is aimed specifically at the over 50’s, allows participants to cover 30 miles and burn 4,200 calories over a 3 month period, just by playing for 1 hour a week.

Every May and June, we run the Walking Football Cup, in which EFL Clubs hold a local competition through their community trust. The winners are then selected to represent their club at a regional level. The top 2 teams in each region then qualify for the finals. Last year, Plymouth took the winning title with a 2-1 win in the final against Blackpool. Walking football has been growing year-on-year, and with 56 of the 72 clubs taking part this year, the competition has been tougher than ever.

Commencing in Derby on Monday 9th May, teams representing Derby County, Burton Albion, Nottingham Forest, Mansfield Town, Walsall, Crewe Alexandra, Coventry City and Wolverhampton Wanderers all made the trip to the Moorways Sports Centre to take part in the Regional Finals of the competition. Mansfield Town were the overall winners, beating Nottingham Forest 1-0 in the the final. 14th May will saw the remaining 4 finals take place. With over 40 teams taking part throughout the day at Blackpool, Doncaster, Exeter and Luton. The national final takes place on 7th June.

Line-up complete for Football League Trust Walking Football Cup finals

Older footballers from nine Football League clubs are getting another chance of glory thanks to a new national football competition from the Football League Trust.

The Walking Football Cup has involved over 60 teams from throughout the country representing their local Football League club. We are now down to the last 10 teams who will take part in an exciting finals day at St George’s Park on Monday 6th July  

The ten finalists are: AFC Wimbledon, Blackpool FC, Crewe Alexandra FC, Derby County FC ‘A’, Derby County ‘B’, Leeds United FC, Norwich City FC, Plymouth Argyle FC, Swindon Town FC and York City.

Walking football is a slow-paced version of the beautiful game aimed specifically at the over 50s.

The competition is backed by football legend Jimmy Armfield, who said: “As you get older the opportunity to participate in team sports lessen – ironically at the age when you most need to keep active. Walking football is designed to help people keep an active lifestyle despite their age, as well as getting those back playing football who had to stop due to injuries. Simply playing one hour a week for three months enables players to cover 30 miles and burn 4,200 calories.”

The competition comprised of five regional events with over 60 teams competing, with the top two in each region qualifying for the finals. At the North West final Blackpool, spurred on by the presence of Jimmy Armfield, took the tittle with runners-up Crewe Alexandra joining them at the finals.

A hard fought South East final saw AFC Wimbledon win and qualify with Norwich. Home advantage proved key in the Midlands with both Derby A and B teams reaching the final and therefore qualifying. In the Yorkshire and North East region an incredibly tense final was decided by a Leeds United golden goal, however runners up York City will join them at St Georges where they’ll be looking for revenge.

The line-up was completed in the South West where Plymouth Argyle finished runners up to a very good Swindon Team.  

One of the thousands of people who are feeling the benefits of walking football, Paul Jackson from Heanor, will be representing Derby County.

He said: “I played regular 11-a-side football on Saturdays and Sundays until I was 49. I then had some health issues and found doing any sort of exercise difficult but following a couple of successful operations last year I was able to start doing some physical exercise such as swimming and gym sessions but I really missed playing football.  So I was very pleased when I heard about walking football and for me this quickly became a replacement for gym sessions and a much more enjoyable one.” 

   

Dean Grice, from the Football League Trust, said: “Those dreams you have as a child of playing for your local team never truly go away, so the competition that teams represent in their local club and play in their colours.  We are also grateful to The FA for allowing us to use St George’s Park to provide our players with the experience of playing a top class venue.”

Walking football has grown massively over the last few years and as the name suggests it is non-contact and anyone that sprints, runs or jogs while the ball is in play will be penalised with a free-kick awarded to the other team. The game is played on a pitch 20/40 yards in length and 15/30 yards in width.

Dean continues: “We want this tournament to provide the opportunity for friendly competition and to promote and help grow the game. So that more and more older people can benefit from staying active.”

How the final will work

The 10 teams have been split into two groups which will play a round robin tournament with the top two teams qualifying for the semi-final.

Group One

Group Two

1. Derby County ‘A’

1. Blackpool

2. Crewe Alexandra

2. Swindon Town

3. AFC Wimbledon

3. York City

4. Leeds United

4. Norwich City

5. Derby County ‘B’

5. Plymouth Argyle

Football Legend Jimmy Armfield Encourages Older Footballer to Walk On, Walk On

Football Legend Jimmy Armfield will kicked off the Football League Trust’s first ever national walking football tournament in Blackpool yesterday

The tournament features over 60 teams who, uniquely, will represent their local Football League Club and play in their quoteofficial colours. The competition is comprised of 5 regional events, with the top two in each region qualifying for the finals which will be played at The FA’s prestigious St George’s Park

This slow-paced version of the beautiful game aimed specifically at the over 50s, Jimmy Armfield comments, “As you get older the opportunity to participate in team sports lessen – ironically at the age when you most need to keep active. Walking Football is designed to help people keep an active lifestyle despite their age, as well as getting those back playing football who had to stop due to injuries. Simply playing 1 hour a week for 3 months enables players to cover 30 miles and burn 4,200 calories!”

Dean Grice, from the Football League Trust comments, “Those dreams you have as a child of playing for your local team never truly go away, so the competition that teams represent in their local club and play in their colours. We are also grateful to The FA for allowing us to use St George’s Park to provide our players with the experience of playing a top class venue.”

Walking Football has grown massively over the last few years and as the name suggests it is non-contact and anyone that sprints, runs or jogs while the ball is in play will be penalised with a free-kick awarded to the other team. The game is played on a pitch 20/40 yards in length and 15/30 yards in width with a size

The North West final consisted of teams representing, Blackpool, Crewe Alexandra, Carlisle United, Rochdale, Fleetwood Town, and Wigan Athletic.   Following a keenly contested group stage Blackpool and Crewe booked their place and at St Georges, with Blackpool just edging a tight final.  

Dean continues, “The competitive spirit on show evident from all the teams but the camaraderie between all the player was brilliant and there was lots of laughter.  We want this tournament to provide the opportunity for friendly competition and to promote and help grow the game. So that more and more older people can benefit from staying active.”