A NEW football force is emerging in Denton and it is literally taking one step at a time.
For the Tameside Striders are making waves in the world of walking football.
The side is one of two that operates from the King Street home of Denton Youth FC, along with Denton Thursday.
And it is clearly doing something right as it is fighting for the Greater Manchester Over-70s Spring 2019 Division One title.
The Striders and Denton Thursday have more than 60 registered players between them – with the oldest player in the first hour on a Tuesday, for people over 67-years-old, a sprightly 83!
From 11am, it’s the turn of the Under-67s, including some who are just over 50-years-old and still in full-time employment.
Alan Richards, secretary/treasurer of the Denton Walking Football Group, said: “The majority of our players – myself included – are retired. And loving it!
“There is no upper age limit for walking football. You do not even need much natural ability. Just a willingness to move without running and the ability to kick a ball, preferably to someone on your team!”
Walking football proved so popular, a Thursday session was started in late 2017 we started a Thursday session – imaginatively named Denton Thursday.
And the appeal has gone out for more women to join the two that have stayed the course.
Alan added: “We could do with a few more women turning up and have lowered the age limit for females to 35.
“Women tend to walk more than run and that’s more than you can say for some of the men, some of the time.”
Each session costs £3 and with that you can have a brew afterwards. For anyone keen and wanting to play regularly. there is also a one-off annual ‘sign on’ fee of £5, which helps to cover modest insurance and internet platform costs.
The Denton group is not one for inter-Tameside rivalries. It is extremely close and friendly links with the walking football set up at Curzon Ashton FC, which is known as The Nash Amblers, where there is more room for expansion.
Alan said: “More than anything though walking football is a way to get some exercise, reconnect with a football and have a laugh whilst doing it.
“Conversations after games are wide ranging and are a good way of making new friends and acquaintances. It’s a leisure pursuit, and a later life bonus. We tag ourselves ‘The Mild Bunch’ which sums up our approach.”
Photography and film are a big part of the sessions in Denton, with a website that gets an average of 600 visits a week, giving 24/7 access to what’s going on.
• ANYONE who is interested in giving walking football a try can ring Alan on 07387 174934 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.