Walking on to take over Hyde United

FANCY playing football but at a slower pace? Well, a ‘Tiger feet’ walking football festival could be just the thing you are after.For the popular Denton Walking Football group, which is also known as Tameside Striders, will be showing off their skills at Hyde United’s Ewen Fields.

Wednesday, May 20 will see players from the group, which has been attracting record attendance numbers, display everything about the discipline.

Following on from their ‘Summer 19’ Festival, this will also utilise miniature goals with no goalkeepers.

However, the rules will stick closely to regular walking football, with restrictions on fierce shooting and the need for more accuracy making for a more precise passing game with the emphasis on skill, positioning and movement.

Throw all that together and you get the desired effect of moderate but quite demanding exercise for older players.

And given the location and Hyde United’s nickname, there could be no other name for the display, which will see a trophy presented to the winners.Alan Richards, of the Tameside Striders, said: “This variant of walking football negates risks. It will never replace the conventional game but it is an alternative which most people enjoy, especially its more technical aspects of good passing and opening up a channel to get an attempt on goal.

“One player is nominated to patrol the goal area as a ‘sweeper/keeper’ but may not handle the ball.

Games are usually closely contested and we will be making a video demonstration film as this form of the game is attracting some attention nationwide. We will also be filming the festival itself and it will be a privilege to play our game at Ewen Fields, a ground steeped in local non-league football folklore.

“And given the location, what else could it be called but Tiger Feet?”

The Striders’ Over-70s team – nicknamed The Badgers because of their black and white striped kit – has entered the Greater Manchester Walking Football League at Heywood for a third season from late March.

And Alan added: “We’ll be hoping to improve on last season’s results when we were relegated from Division One.

“A disappointment for some but the very fact that 70-plus-year-olds are still playing a game akin to football competitively is a marvellous thing to behold, whatever results we may or may not achieve.”

The Denton group has been attracting record numbers despite poor winter weather and it has received a community fund grant as part of the Celebrating 25 years of the National Lottery scheme.

Alan continued: “Striders an ample amount to stage something a little bit special as we head towards later Spring, and the promise of some better, warmer weather.

“It’s a tribute to the players that winter has seen increasing numbers as we play outdoors all the time.”

• The group is fast approaching capacity now but if you are interested in joining up, you can check their website: www.tamestriderswalkingfootball.org.uk

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