Walking Football is top of the table across Derbyshire

27th May 2015

IMG_0627Walking football sessions are scoring a hat trick with participants across Derbyshire – keeping people fit, having fun and meeting new friends.  The game follows the same rules as regular football but with no running, jogging or sprinting – it’s merely a slower version of our beautiful game. 

Before June 2014, there were just four walking football sessions across the county, now there are more than 15, with groups in North East Derbyshire, Amber Valley, Derbyshire Dales, South Derbyshire and the Chesterfield area.  

Village Games Officers work with a number of partners to ensure successful Walking Football Sessions, including Derbyshire County FA, Derbyshire Sport, District and Borough councils, local councillors, leisure centres and football clubs. 
There’s no age limit for people to take part in walking football sessions, because anyone can play the game. 

John Dacey, 66, from Marsh Lane near Eckington said: “I love football and used to enjoy playing 5-a-side. When I retired, I did continue to play for a while but, eventually, there were less opportunities and I felt that I could not keep up with a competitive game, played at a fast pace.” 

“When I saw the advert for walking football in Dronfield, I was pleased, if nervous, to turn up. Initially, there were only 4 or so but now, we regularly have about 10 players.” 

“After an hour playing, I am pleasantly surprised at how much of a sweat I have got. Despite the early start of the session (8.15am), I love going each week. The people going share my enjoyment and it’s a social event as well. It is competitive but played in a good spirit. It is one of the highlights of my week!”

Walking football sessions aren’t just for Derbyshire gents either – women are giving the sport the thumbs up across the county. 

Helen playing footballHelen Watts, 54, takes part in walking football sessions in Baslow. She said: “I was very sporty when I was at school and played a lot of football until I was around 12. But a career in nursing and then NHS management meant that time for sport was limited except for a spell playing tennis at a local club.”

“A couple of years ago I was lucky enough  to take early retirement and began playing bowls, took up  cycling, rejoined the local tennis club and started to play netball after a 40 year gap. I became a trustee at the local sports field and got involved in the Derbyshire Village Games project and heard that Walking Football was coming to Baslow.”

“Becky Bryan [former Derbyshire Dales Village Games Officer] knew I had played football in the past and encouraged me to go along. The first time, I arrived in the car park and nearly turned round to come home! But I plucked up courage with the intention of being just a spectator. However Becky tempted me onto the pitch and the rest as they say, is history.”

“I have loved playing football from being a toddler. Old photos always show me carrying a football but I’m afraid in those days there were no opportunities for girls to play in local teams. Walking football has given me the opportunity to rekindle a lifelong passion. I enjoy feeling part of a team, being outside in the fresh air and getting my heart pumping. Best of all I like to score!”

“I don't particularly think of it as a 'manly' sport. It's just a sport and it’s great that both men and women of all ages can play in a friendly, slower paced environment. I don't get any special treatment and I think I am accepted as 'one of the team'.”

“What I’d say to other women is, give it a go and don't be afraid of what other people might think - despite its name, walking football really isn't a walk in the park - it provides a great work out and is great fun at the same time.” 

Village Games led Walking Football sessions take place across Derbyshire - 
•    Baslow Multi-Games Area – Thursday 10-11am
•    Matlock’s Arc Leisure Centre – Wednesday 10-11am 
•    Heanor William Gregg Leisure Centre – Wednesday 11.30-12.30 
•    Dronfield Sports Centre – Tuesday 8.15-9.15am 
•    Swadlincote Green Bank Leisure Centre – Monday 7-8pm 
•    Codnor Boys FC host a session at  Aldercar Community Language College – Tuesday 7-8pm (venue subject to change over the summer so please be advised to ring ahead before attending). Contact Phil Moss; 07734756556 or email Philip.moss@btinternet.com
•    Hasland Eastwood Park – Thursday – 10-11am 
•    Ashbourne Leisure Centre – Monday – 2-3pm
•    Kirk Hallam School, Erewash – Monday – 7-8pm
•    Sharley Park Leisure Centre, Clay Cross – Tuesday – 9-10am
•    Alfreton Leisure Centre – Friday – 10-11am 

Across Derbyshire