A Fitzrovia man is looking for people to play “walking football” at a local sports pitch and is hoping to get enough players together for games that are more about enjoyment than winning.
50-year-old Russell Davies, who has lived and worked in Fitzrovia for around 15 years, wants to get a couple of teams together to play at the 5-a-side astro-turf pitch at The Warren at the northern end of Whitfield Street.
“Walking Football is, as the name suggests, football minus the running, It’s aimed at those aged 45 and over and it’s become something of a craze recently,” he says.
Since he was at school he’s played football and this has continued into his adult life.
“I’ve never been particularly good, but I’ve always liked playing. I’ve organised various ‘works’ teams’ in later life. In order to get a game I normally have to be the person who organises the matches. So nothing’s changed, really.”
Now he’s interested in walking football as the running game is notorious for injuries, especially for older players. But it also has other attractions.
“What is nice about walking football is the absence of a formal code. Games start with an agreement about how it is played, then we just get on with it and enjoy the game. It’s more like football you play in the park,” he says.
“I’ve played with the Arsenal walking football team a few times in the last few months. It was fun, but I thought it’d be nice to do it a bit closer to home.”
Davies is hoping to attract some local would-be players who want to continue enjoying the game into later life.
“I wouldn’t want people to think ‘I won’t come along because I’m not good enough’. Everyone gets a game. It’s about playing the social aspect. It’s not about a winning machine
“People might have assumed it’s over as they get older, but football still has room for different types of player. You can still get a workout. It’s still physical, but there is more of an emphasis on skill and co-ordination.”
But more than anything, it’s about pure enjoyment of the beautiful game. “There’s a spirit of: ‘We’re here to play and enjoy ourselves’.”
If you are interested in walking football in Fitzrovia, visit the Old Fitzrovians Walking Football Club at OldFitzrovians.com where you can find out more.