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Harvesters FC Walking Football Team

If you are interested in Walking Football at Harvesters FC, please contact
David Willacy on 01727 865360 or 07957 374351, or if you prefer by email, dmwillacy@ntlword.com


Walking Football (the Harvesters Way)

Back in the olden days, long before Barclays Bank got the idea and tried to lure the silver generation to bank with them, St Albans U3A (google it!)) tried to start a Walking Football (WF) group. It failed at first but then burst on the City’s soccer scene on 23rd October 2014. Life has never been the same since. Now it has celebrated its 30th session with a second game of Starlit Soccer underneath the lights at Sandridge Rovers FC, close by the three pubs in which the local Village Voices were singing carols. What an occasion to sing the praises of the players who have survived the experience.

That first session on a gravelly tennis court next to a ‘Sure Start’ nursery was anything Fifteen months on, useful exercise, resurrected skills and great fun are a recognisable feature of every other Thursday morning.

By the third session, the injured and the unimpressed had deserted the cause but our first festive football session and the offer of mince pies and mulled wine at half-time rekindled hope. And the kindest of offers from Harvesters FC to use their 3G pitch from January was just the boost we needed. With the risk of injury lessened, an electronic clock and the convenience of a toilet in the clubhouse, who could resist our new venue?

Well, as it happened, quite a few. We welcomed some foreign signings from neighbouring U3A groups (Chiswell Green and Wheathampstead) but the numbers varied and the excuses increasingly threadbare. Groin strain, calf injury, hernia operation, Bermuda cruise, caravan holiday, wedding anniversary, moving house, all the usual lame efforts failed the originality test. Not once did anyone use the professional footballer’s excuse, ‘I didn’t fancy it!’.

During the summer break we took our version of the ‘Beautiful Game’ to Wheathampstead Village Weekend and drew admiring gasps from the sun-drenched festival crowd with a passing game that was at times mesmeric and so viewed our second season with confidence. But numbers fluctuated wildly. Then, just in time, Harvesters Charter Standard Community Club came to our rescue, lifted us from the floor and enabled us to be the first Walking Football Club to affiliate to the Hertfordshire Football Association.

So in January, after a continental-style midwinter break we will resume with our gentle warm up routine, practice deft touches, increase our spatial awareness, miss goals, eat oranges, drink Lavazza coffee, smile a lot and laugh even more at our John Cleese-like step overs. After inevitable 5-5 finishes our penalty shoot-outs will again end in tears (of laughter). The shirts of Accrington, Torquay, Preston NE and Carlisle United will be worn with pride. Other WF groups may not like or understand our current version of the game as it’s based on cooperation and not opposition. But we do.

This is the unsolicited response from a recent recruit;

It is the 30th anniversary of my cruciate ligament operation when I was told not to play again. All I have done is therefore make up the numbers when coaching at school or with local youth teams. As I have told my son and daughter, they have had to play for me for the last 20-odd years, they have been the only way I could still get close to enjoying this marvellous and all absorbing game.

I am back, thanks to walking football. It is all I had hoped it would be.

And more. A great bunch of fellow enthusiasts who made me feel at home despite all my worries about how I would cope having not even kicked a ball for about 5 years.

Thanks to Harvesters Walking Football is ‘up and running’. Well, walking, actually.

If you are interested in Walking Football at Harvesters FC, please contact
David Willacy on 01727 865360 or 07957 374351, or if you prefer by email, dmwillacy@ntlword.com

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