Footballers are walking back to happiness

Walking footballers from the Chichester and Midhurst groups ready to do battle
Walking footballers from the Chichester and Midhurst groups ready to do battle

Well into its first year, Chichester’s only walking football club is going strong.

Last week saw a variation to the usual sessions as Everyone Active’s Midhurst group visited the Westgate Centre to play some friendly matches against Chichester. It was the first time an organised walking football match had taken place in the area.

Although dubbed ‘friendlies’ the competitive nature of some players did come to the fore, meaning the referee had to use his whistle more than he expected.

The sport is still relatively new and the match proved how the popularity continues to grow.

The sport was created in 2011 and the participation levels have increased greatly, which has led to the FA issuing an official rulebook.

During this year’s FA Cup final between Chelsea and Arsenal, the FA’s People Cup featured heavily in the build-up and included in it was a segment on walking football.

Ex-England, West Ham and QPR star Trevor Sinclair visited a walking football side who had entered the competition and made it to the finals. The segment highlighted the brilliant advantages the game has physically and socially and how it is perfect for those wanting to re-engage with sport and especially football. 

Last Tuesday’s fixtures saw a very well-represented Midhurst side who brought down an A and B side to play against Chichester.

A total of four games were played overall, which saw Midhurst A and B play twice each against Chichester, coming out on top by winning two games, drawing one and losing another.

Walking football is played as a five-a-side, using rules similar to small-sided football with the only differences being that the ball must stay under head height, players can only score in the box and players must not run.

Both Chichester and Midhurst showed their class with a brilliant quick passing style. This led to some brilliant passages of play by both sides that were often rounded off with tidy finishes, although some may have been guilty of some glaring misses.

Although dubbed ‘friendlies’ the competitive nature of some players did come to the fore, meaning the referee had to use his whistle more than he expected. But overall the idea proved a success, with refreshements provided on by Everyone Active, giving both sets of players the opportunities to mingle and make new friends.

The return leg is already in discussion with a fixture likely to take place at Midhurst around October time. 

Walking football is aimed for men over 50, though the sessions are open for all. If you played football at a younger age and are wanting to rediscover the sport or have never played and are looking to learn a new skill and meet some brilliant people, walking football is for you. 

Walking Football sessions are available at Everyone Active centres in Chichester, Midhurst and Southbourne every Tuesday. See more at www.everyoneactive.com

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