A brief walk through the history of walking football
The first known game of walking football took place in Derby at the old Baseball Ground on May 14th 1932 between Derby Railway Veterans and Crewe Railway Veterans.
Now the game played around the world now was developed for modern day players by Chesterfield Community Football Club Coaches around 2011 and it shortly after featured in a Barclays Bank advert featuring a team from Cove in Hampshire.
From very humble beginnings the game has grown in England and Wales with an estimate of 35,000 players taking part in sessions each week. The game was designed to get the over 50s active again through a sport they had long thought they had left behind and although often described as ‘the beautiful game, only slower’ it is better looked upon as a derivative of regular football rather than a version.
The FA are the National Governing Body in England for Walking Football and the finals of their prestigious FA Peoples Cup are taking place at FA St Georges Park on April 28th. The local area has a strong connection to the FA Peoples Cup with Grimsby Ancient Mariners winning the trophy in 2016. The squad of 9 local players were unbeaten throughout the tournament. The connection remains in that Mick Hill who was part of the cup winning squad refereed last years FA Peoples Cup Final and has been invited again to be part of the referee’s team for finals day.
The cup win was a great fillip for walking football in our area and the majority of that winning squad now play with Grimsby Corinthians and have continued to represent the area well with numerous cup wins and League Championships. Grimsby Ancient Mariners also continue to flourish and both clubs provide opportunities for others to try walking football.
A big factor in the growth of walking football in this area has been the input from Lincs Inspire and their coaches, predominantly Paul Goodhand and Glynn Cook. They still provide a session on a Friday morning at the Bradley Football Centre starting at 1100. This is a great session for anyone to introduce themselves to the benefits of walking football through improved fitness, improved mental wellbeing and the fantastic camaraderie created by walking football. These sessions with Lincs Inspire can signpost you to the other sessions in the area that may suit your needs.
The game has come on so much that in June this year there are European Championships in Chesterfield and a World Cup event at Leyton Orient in London. England will be represented in the World Cup Event by the team that wins the FA Peoples Cup (over 50s) and a team that wins the qualifying event in Leicester (over 60s) on Sunday 21st April.
Grimsby Corinthians have entered a team at Leicester but recognise that the competition will be tough.