As Grassroots Week continues, former Scotland internationalist Jimmy Bone recently paid a visit to a walking football group at Stirling.
Starting in April 2016 at Forthbank in conjunction with the Healthy Hearts Club, walking football gives people over the age of 50 the chance to continue playing the beautiful game but perhaps at a slower pace than they were once used to.
Led by the Scottish FA’s Central region’s Football Development Officer, Scott Kinross, around 20 people meet every Wednesday and although they see it as exercise it is also a good opportunity to retain that competitive edge, so much so a group of them jet off to the Algarve next week to compete in a tournament.
Having played for Norwich City, Celtic, Arbroath and Hearts in his playing career, Jimmy Bone attended a walking football session at Forthbank and was instantly impressed.
He said: “Walking football is becoming really popular and it’s not hard to see why. Most of the participants are retired so it gives them opportunity to meet other people and they all go for tea and cakes afterwards.
“They all love football and it gives them a chance to continue playing the game. It’s also very competitive but frustrating.
“It takes a bit of getting used to as you have to play passes into feet all the time and it’s difficult to dribble upfield. It’s a very tactical game but you certainly build a sweat up.
“I still miss playing football but walking football gives me a chance to pull the boots on again and get the buzz back.
“It’s the complete football experience as you have the chance to have some dressing room banter and feel part of a team again.
“The players at Stirling often go to another session in Alloa and also compete in a league at Ravenscraig. The appetite is there for people to continually play the game, no matter their age.”
Click here to join a walking football group.