Tuesday (10 July) saw Bolton Wanderers Community Trust’s Walking Football team travel to the home of the England National team set-up, St George’s Park in Burton-upon-Trent to compete in the EFL Trust National Walking Football Tournament. They qualified through winning the earlier regional North West competition, which itself was an extremely competitive tournament.
Drawn into Group B alongside Derby County, Luton Town, Rochdale AFC and Sheffield United the day started with a fixture against Derby. On a tight pitch with not much space the games were always going to be close, and despite Bolton’s possession throughout the game Derby scored a breakaway goal to make it 1-0 and that’s how the game finished.
Next up was last year’s winners Sheffield United, another tight game and unfortunately the same result with Bolton ending up losing 1-0. Not to be disheartened the players regrouped and finished the group games with two respectable goalless draws against Luton Town and local rivals Rochdale. The results weren’t enough to get through to the final, however each game was extremely tight and the results could have easily been different.
Following the group games there was an opportunity for the players from each club to play in an exhibition game against an All Star Team which contained the Tommy Charlton, the younger brother of England legends Bobby and Jack Charlton. The All Star Team was also managed by England World Cup winner Norman Hunter.
Despite the guys not qualifying from the Group stage, everyone had a great day, and to quote one of the players: “Who would have thought that at 60 years old, we’d be at St George’s Park playing for Bolton Wanderers”. It was a good experience for all players who will hopefully be back again competing for the trophy next year. Well done to overall winners Sheffield United.
For anyone interested in giving Walking Football a go, the Community Trust offers a session once a week in a fun, relaxed and social atmosphere, whilst there are also opportunities for players to play in leagues and tournaments should they wish to.
For more information please contact Richard Slater – 01204 673 790 – firstname.lastname@example.org