Walking football club clock up ‘significant milestone’

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A Nottinghamshire walking football club has clocked up a “significant milestone”.

Mansfield Senior Reds have put on 300 sessions for its members since forming in 2014.

Starting as a health initiative for over-50s, the club has gone from strength to strength.

Its membership is close to reaching three figures and around half play regularly through the week.

MSR put on two sessions a week at their Mansfield Rugby Club home on Eakring Road.

And with approximately 17 people attending each session the club has calculated its members have completed more than 5,000 active playing hours since its birth.

MSR secretary Peter Mitchell said: “It’s a significant milestone. We’ve been a part of something which has got seniors out and about and exercising, which can’t be a bad thing.

“It started with three of us playing over in Chesterfield before we then decided to do it in Mansfield.

“We don’t turn anyone away, as long as they’re over 50.

“The standards range from ex-professionals to people who have never really played in their life who come for enjoyment, camaraderie and fitness.”

They have attracted many different players who are supporters of different professional clubs, including Mansfield Town, Chesterfield, Notts County and Nottingham Forest.

“There’s a lot of banter,” said Peter. “Before the Monday session, especially, there’s always talk of the weekend - but it’s all good-natured.

“The social side of it is excellent. It’s turned some people’s lives around.

“It’s got some people out and doing something they enjoy in a new environment and a new set of social friends.”

Walking football gave Peter, now 69, the chance to play football again. He has seen the game change a lot over the years, but some things have stayed the same.

“I’m a goalkeeper so my job hasn’t really changed,” he said. “I still have to get down to make saves.

“Walking football is all about playing to feet and accuracy - you can’t run so can’t really play quick one-twos.

“It’s a six-a-side format, with rolling subs, and if anyone for any reason goes down we stop play.

“Our oldest player is 79 - he’ll be 80 soon - and we’re insisting he stays fit to play in his 80th year.”

As well as competitions around the UK, the Mansfield Senior Reds have played and won tournaments overseas.

They have also held many events to raise funds for local charities, including most recently an evening dinner with Forest legend John McGovern.