History of the Scottish Walking Football Festival


Fourteen teams took part in the first Scottish Walking Football Festival which was held at Spartans Community Football Academy Ainslie Park Edinburgh on Sunday 7th June 2015.

14 Squads from throughout the UK including two from Newcastle Upon Tyne and teams  from Inverness, Glasgow, Dundee, Annan, Ayr Stenhousemuir, Midlothian, Galashiels and Edinburgh attended the event which proved to be a great success.

There was no age restrictions in this tournament and players had to wear pedometers which recorded the number of steps walked, and during the festival almost one millions steps were taken by particiants.

After a round robin, the Hibernian Football Fans in Training beat the Midlothian/Galashiels select after a sudden death penalty shoot out following a hard fought 0-0 draw in the first semi-final whilst Glasgow Life defeated Annan Athletic in the other.

The Hibs Ffit fans took the lead in the final but Glasgow fought back to equalise before the Easter Road side grabbed a late winner to secure the trophy.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle won the award for the most number of steps taken.

On 19th June 2016, the second Festival was held at Ainslie Park and 26 teams of over 50’s from across Scotland battle it out  before Montrose Walking Football Club emerged victorious after a narrow 1-0 victory over  Midlothian in the final.

After the event, Ian Findlay, Chief Officer at Paths for All said: “The 2016 Scottish Walking Football festival was an overwhelming success. ‎26 teams who came from all over Scotland to play the latest version of the beautiful game and the enthusiasm from players and coaches made it a wonderful day. Special thanks to Spartans Community Football Academy for providing their fantastic venue and staff to support the event, and also to our partners Age Scotland for providing the Yvonne Coull Memorial Shield which was awarded to Montrose WFC.  We wish the team the best of luck as they now carry the hopes of all the Scottish walking football family to the UK play-offs.”

Peter Davidson, Project Manager, Links Park Community Trust said: “We are delighted that since launching our Walking Football programme two years ago, interest in the sport has grown rapidly and we are now engaging with over 50 adults, both male and female, between the ages of 25 and 75.

“We are very proud of those that represented Links Park Community Trust at the event and delighted that they were victorious. We look forward to representing Scotland in the UK championships, and of course, we'll be back to defend our title at the Scottish Championships next year.

Well done to Paths for All and partners for what was a fantastic event.”

Craig Brown, former Scotland manager said: "It's great to see so many teams from all over Scotland competing at this year's festival. The growth of this version of the beautiful game has been phenomenal and I am heartened by the fact that we have so many people still playing football in their later years."

Earlier this year, a record 32 teams from throughout Scotland took part in the event which was jointly organised by the charity Paths for All and Glasgow Sport.

Health and Sport Minister Aileen Campbell opened the event at Glasgow Green which was covered live by Radio Scotland's Sportsound programme and a number of former players including Barry and Derek Ferguson, Joe Miller, Alex Rae and Frank McAvennie joined journalists Chick Young, Graham Spiers and Kenny Macintyre in a celebrity team.

After qualifying from a strong group section containing Loretto, Hearts 06 and Glasgow Sport East, Midlothian comfortably defeated a strong Dunfermline Athletic side to reach the semi-final.

A comprehensive victory over Hearts 98 then set up a final against Gretna. The pair previously faced each other in the final of the Gala Fairydean Rovers tournament at Netherdale last month where the South of Scotland team 'ran out' winners, so revenge was sweet for Midlothian who play twice weekly in Loanhead and Penicuik.

With Scottish football legend Archie McPherson commentating from the sidelines, Midlothian produced an excellent performance to win 2-0 although, but for some heroics from the Gretna goalkeeper, the scoreline could easily have been much higher.

What made Midlothian's achievement even more impressive (and popular) was the fact that their goalkeeper throughout the tournament was 85-year-old Peter Collins.

Lifelong Hibs face Peter is a 'weel kent' face in the walking football community and plays an incredible SIX times each week.

Wearing his treasured Hibs' goalkeeper's top, which was presented to him by the club, Peter and Archie reminisced about the golden age of Scottish football with Peter recalling having watched Hibs in the European Cup semi-final against Stade Reims in 1956.

One of Peter's sons, Douglas, also took part in the tournament and given there is an over 50s stipulation, this is thought to have been the first time a father and son have played together in a walking football tournament.

Equally impressive was the fact that Midlothian won the event without their former player of the year, 86-year-old Bob 'Boabaldo' Blakie who was otherwise engaged.

Midlothian team L to R back Row: Douglas Collins, Vivian Wallace, Archie McPherson, Peter Collins and Archie Mason. Front Row: Malcolm Kay, Mike Addison, Colin Crawford and Kenny Davidson.