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Baz Holmes: containing the ‘monster’ at the crossroads…

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  1. Janet Milner

    Retro Rovers were formed out of a dream I had to play football once again. A woman nearly 60 who has lived all her life with a love of football. I smashed my knee in 1980 had 16 operations and a total knee replacement in 2003. Could write a book about how depression hit me when I couldn’t play or coach the sport I love. Took to drink to mask my depression. However my involvement with football helped me overcome so many issues in my life and the prospect of becoming a footballer once again was grabbed three years ago. I asked a couple of lads to join me on my mission to find like minded people and a family was born. Walking football allows people who love the game to recreate moments and show skills that for so long were just a distant memory. Our club are proud to say have 11 men who are over 70 regularly playing. Our club has given so many a new lease of life and reduced social isolation . We are now creating new memories and having a laugh at the same time. The game however has also been taken over by enthusiastic veteran 5 a side clubs you can can tell them a mile off. They are destroying our game. The game should be about skill on the ball and passing ability. No player should ever be hurt by over zealous players. I got hurt last year by a man who decided he wasn’t going to get beat by a woman so he fouled me so hard I needed 6 weeks on crutches and missed last years Peoples Cup. It shouldn’t matter at all if a player has had a heart by pass, or a stroke, hip, or knee replacement there really is no need for any undue physicality. If played the right way this wonderful sport of ours can be played by people for as long as they feel able. A mutual respect for one another and a real understanding of the joy that being involved in playing once again is magical. Why would anyone want to spoil it. However as I said earlier there is a win at all cost mentality within Walking Football that is putting people off. We are lucky in Yorkshire as we have become closely associated with Rothwell Old Boars and a couple of other clubs who play the game the right way with the right ethos. We closely monitor clubs now and have turned down opportunities to play if we view other teams as perhaps not understanding the real concept of Walking Football. I have told many players if you were a clogger 50 years ago this sport isn’t for you. It’s for players who understand the beautiful game albeit at a slower pace.

  2. Russ Shaw

    As with Cornelius’ article I agree with everything you say. As soon as formalisation comes into the equation added with hard and fast rules and tournaments, the red eyed monster of competiveness comes out. Unfortunately some males have to win at all costs, no matter the impact on those fellow players around them.
    having played in The Peoples Cup, Walking Football Uniteds competition and our local FA’S Tournament and witnessed the gamesmanship and ungentlemanly conduct together with serious foul play we decided to go the fun route and no longer play in tournaments. Even some of the friendlies we have played have been ‘tasty’!
    I coach and play with a dementia group as well as my normal groups and have a number of players over 80 in my other sessions. It is our duty to protect the players and ensure the only objective is to have fun.
    I also adapt rules according to the players, surface and circumstances. Our standard format is to use a futsal, make it 3 touch to reduce reckless dribbling and running opportunities and it becomes a fluid, exciting game to be involved in with minimum physical risk
    What can be better than a multi pass move culminating in a bulging net?
    Keep up the good work.

  3. Ian Edmundson

    This is sadly very true. Some clubs are entering competitions with a win at all costs mentality, including using “ringers” who are not regular members to play in competitive teams. How long before we see little brown envelopes changing hands do you think?

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