In 2012 I first saw walking football on Breakfast TV News when they showed an article of games played in Bury, Lancashire, where it was becoming very popular for people of a certain age with a love for the "beautiful game." One guy, who was in his eighties, had recovered from open heart surgery and was now competing well with the rest of his team mates.
Following on from this I approached the staff at the Bradley Community Centre to see if it could be added to their programmes under the Inspire Sport umbrella and play organised games on their astro turf pitches.
They agreed and started an advertising a twice weekly programme for football for the over 55 age group. Although the numbers were small to start off , and with the assistance of the Bradley Sports team the numbers soon started to grow and we were able to play an organised game. The numbers grew steadily and as from March 2015 we became the Grimsby Ancient Mariners Walking Football Club with over 30 members playing at each session.
Not only does the group play twice a week (Monday and Thursday from 10 am to 11 am). the group now utilises at least two of the three pitches available, split into two groups, one playing a three-touch no contact game and the other a more adventurous, physical version that demonstrates the improved fitness and well being attained by the members. This has proved to be a good way to improve the fitness of this age group and we are never short of players.
Our aim is to provide a sporting environment at our home at Bradley but also to play against other groups around the country either in visits or organised tournaments. We also intend to be self funding and eventually purchase our own playing kit.
The future of the Grimsby Ancient Mariners currently looks rosy and we also intend to expand into providing social events for our members away from the football fields.
It is very important that this age group maintains an interest in other activities because as the saying goes "age is just a number" and every Monday and Thursday mornings these 55 plusses are transported back to their youth thanks to Tony Parrott, honorary president, sitting watching Breakfast TV news.
The 'Ancient Mariners' on a recent trip to the Etihad
The aims of the Grimsby Ancient Mariners Walking Football Club are:
1 To promote Walking Football to all groups of people in North East Lincolnshire.
2 To seek to ensure all members of the Club can participate and enjoy playing Walking Football.
3 To give every member the opportunity to represent the club against other teams whether at home or away.
4 To promote the cause of good sportsmanship and respect for officials and other players at all times.
5 To provide our members and their families the opportunity to take part in a number of social activities each year.
Grimsby Ancient Mariners Walking Football Club is proud to be associated with Lincs Inspire, inspiring people to lead more active and healthy lives through a wide range of sporting, leisure, cultural and learning services in and around North East Lincolnshire.
Proudly sponsored by Tony Fenton & Sons Wealth Management
Website designed and produced by Mark Cribb Photography, Cleethorpes. www.markcribbphotography.co.uk