28. April 2013 · Comments Off on Funding Award brings Walking Football to Cheadle · Categories: Football

ON THE BALL: From left, Martin Johnson, Ian Morton and Jeff Wood. Picture: Malcolm Hart

Cheadle South Moorlands United Football Club offer ‘walking football’ to over 50’s

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Sentinel



VETERAN footballers are being offered the chance for a comeback – at a more leisurely pace.

Cheadle South Moorlands United Football Club are now holding ‘walking football’ sessions for the over-50s after receiving a £3,000 grant.

The more relaxed version of the beautiful game has already featured on BBC Breakfast and Football Focus and is seen as a route for ex-players to strap their boots back on again.

The rules are exactly the same as regular football but with one crucial difference – players are banned from running, sprinting, or jogging.
Club chairman Ian Morton, aged 56, of Kingsley Holt, said: “I thought we should give it a bash and we were able to get funding for it.
“It’s for the more mature player, who wants to play football again – there’s no upper age limit.
“As people get older and become less agile and energetic, there’s not as many opportunities to play football. You can walk as fast as you like, but you just can’t run.

“It’s a really good game and it’s actually quite difficult.

“The kids at our football club sometimes play because it helps to improve skills.

“You have to be really accurate with your passing because you can’t recover the ball the same.”

When 71-year-old Jeff Wood last played football, Sir Bobby Robson was manager of the England team and Stoke City were bottom of the old First Division.
But the pensioner – who has since had a pacemaker fitted – turned up to enjoy his first kick around since he last turned out for Oakamoor and Kingsley United as a sprightly 42-year-old 29 years ago in 1984.

Mr Wood, of Cheadle, said: “I did miss playing when I stopped, but not so much now because I have been stopped longer than I played.
“But I do still watch a lot of football.

“I had no hesitation about coming back to play again, it’s been great.”
Defender Martin Johnson, aged 58, of Cheadle, last played competitively for Cheadle Town in 1992.
The team leader at Thomas Bolton, who still helps coach Cheadle United, said: “I used to play for Cheadle Town – or Cheadle Old Boys as it was then – and Kingsley United, as a full-back.

“I have played five-a-side since then, but it’s been 10 years since I’ve even done that, because I had bad knees.
“But I do still miss playing and this is a good chance to get back.”

The club received the grant from the Beth Johnson Innovation Fund.

Sessions take place at the South Moorlands Leisure Centre, in Allen Street, Cheadle, on new outdoor artificial pitches, on Fridays at 2.30pm and Sundays at 11.30am.

Taster sessions – which are also open to women – are free of charge, with a £1 fee in the weeks after the player’s debut appearance.


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