The Sporting Trust and its partner Sporting 87 FC delivered their first post-Covid annual charity 5-a-side walking football festival and legends match last weekend at the Abbeycroft Skyliner Sports Centre. This year monies were raised for the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal and for Ukraine refugee football scholarships. In all just over £1000 was contributed in playing fees, sponsorship and donations.
Over fifty players in eight mixed gender all-age teams took part in the light-hearted walking football games. The players represented many Sporting football groups and local business Turners Motor Group. Amongst others this included the regular Sporting walking footballers, men’s futsal league players, the futsal veterans squad, the ladies futsal team, parents teams and Sporting coaches.
The Turners Motor Group Team celebrate their trophy win
Rachel Bolton, the Sporting Trust walking football coach explained, “It’s been great to come along for a bit of fun, which at the same time is keeping us all fit (and our doctors happy!), and to top it off it’s all for a good cause. With all the different people from across the whole of Sporting and our friends from Turners we’ve had a great laugh and made lots of new friends.”
Connecting several generations within the Club, coach James Price, whose mum plays women’s futsal, says that the walking rule is a great ‘leveller’. “Most of the older guys here have played in their younger years and at first find it difficult not to run, but this and the respectful rules make this format so inclusive. There’s much less risk of injury and it’s a gentler game all round. It’s not easy though, you have to really think ahead, plan how you’re going to play as a team, and use your skills. The smaller pitch also keeps the game quick and makes you sharp.”
This year’s ‘Legends Match’ featured a trio of teams in a round robin 11-a-side friendly competition: this season’s retiring Sporting 87 FC U18 age group, a regenerated Sporting 87 FC U18s from 2015 and a well and truly retired veterans ‘dads and friends’ team.
Action in the Legends game: 2022 U18s v 2015 U18s
Trust Director Darren Brown was delighted with the games and response to the good causes, “It’s been great to see so many of our football friends come together and raise an amount of money that was far beyond our expectation. The atmosphere has been so amazingly positive with old friends coming together again enjoying themselves. This has been another gentle step forward to our ‘normal’ seasonal schedule after all of the restrictions, and we hope that we can be here again next season with even more players and raising more money for good causes. The support from the players, sponsors and contributors such as Abbeycroft Leisure and our refreshments provider Little Jessie’s, as well as the help from all our staff has been brilliant, it’s much appreciated.”