Name: David Wilkes
Age: 68 (69 in November 2017)
Location: Little Sandhurst, Berkshire
Walking Football Club Name: Cove Rapidly Ageing Pensioners (C.R.A.P)
Favourite Position: That’s very personal question but I’ll say Goalkeeper
Good standard of regional football.
How long have you played Walking Football?
Why did you first get involved with Walking Football?
Fitness and to enjoy playing football again, something I never thought I would do 25+ years ago.
How many times a week do you take part in Walking Football sessions?
Up to 3 times a week.
Can you let the readers know about your Walking Football sessions in regards of which age group are they for, are they male only, female only or unisex sessions?
Our club is male only. We have ages from 50’s through to 70’s and beyond, one in his 85th year.
When you play a game of Walking Football do you play to the WFA / WFU, FA or your own set of rules? What was the decision behind the rules you have chosen to officiate with?
We play to ‘Mick Quinn’ rules and those are the rules that Hampshire F.A. have adopted.
Sensible rules that mean that playing 3 touch at this age limits the amount of contact and injury.
Describe the buzz you get having the opportunity to play a team sport again at your age?
To experience the thrill of playing again is fantastic plus banter again.
It’s like turning the clock back 50 years.
What one or two things do you currently do in your training sessions that you think are important to avoid injury?
As I said above playing 3 touch is vitally important to avoid contact and serious injury.
Under head height and having a marked safety area ( two yard box) in front of the goal avoids any serious contact between players and goalkeepers. We are fragile and have to be protected.
Have you played competitive Walking Football, if so which tournaments / leagues?
At Cove we don’t play in a league as yet but have successfully played in tournaments in Hampshire and overseas, winning in Portugal & Italy.
Has your diet changed since you have started playing Walking Football? If so what is different?
I wouldn’t say my diet has changed significantly as I am Type 2 diabetic so have to watch my diet.
Do you feel fitter and healthier since you have started playing Walking Football and if please describe how?
I will say that since playing football again my blood sugars and cholesterol are now within the range required and my weight is constant and therefore I feel fitter & better about myself.
Can you describe any injuries you have suffered when playing Walking Football and can you let the readers know how they were caused?
I suffered a broken bone at the base of my left hand which required surgery.
Caused by making a great one handed save from a fierce shot of course.
Following surgery the hand is almost back to full use again and I have been back in goal for a few weeks feeling no ill effects.
Do you always have a club member present who has had first aid training at your games and training sessions, and is there a defibrillator available if needed?
Yes, Mick Quinn is fully qualified to assess any members who have difficulty during games and we take the defibrillator wherever we go, even overseas.
Has your social life changed since you started playing, and if so in what way?
Yes, having friends again who love the game and enjoy it, makes all the difference to the week.
I look forward to each and every session and game.
Does your club or facility where you play Walking Football hold any social or charity events connected with Walking Football and if so what were they?
We support charities wherever we can and have donated to children’s charities and prostate cancer and Heart causes over the years.
What are your best and worst memories of playing Walking Football?
Best moments are still winning silverware, something I never thought I would do again.
Worst moment….. Losing a final in Portugal 1-0 (a penalty), only goal conceded in tournament.
How else has playing Walking Football affected your life?
Stopped me doing a list of jobs around the house that the wife thought I could do as I am now retired.
What do you like most about Walking Football?
Everything, playing again, interaction between like-minded people, keeping fit.
What do you like least about Walking Football?
There isn’t anything, I am just grateful to be given this opportunity to play the sport I love at this age.
Long may it continue.
Do you find it difficult NOT to run and what advice could you give someone in how to remain at walking pace?
Playing in goal I don’t have that cross to bear, however played properly, using the 3 touch system you don’t need to run.
There are still County F.A’s, leagues and tournaments that use different rules including multi touch which results in players gaining pace with each touch of the ball and of course breaking into a run and inviting contact.
What are your goals for the future when playing Walking Football?
Win more silverware, I’m greedy. Seriously though to enjoy the game as long as I can.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to play but is nervous about approaching a club or attending a Walking Football session for the first time?
Do it, don’t have second thoughts.
At Cove we have a couple of members who had never played competitive football. Now not only are they fitter and enjoying it but they are becoming better players.
What do your friends and family think about you playing a sport again at your age?
My children originally thought I was mad and had visions of old men embarrassing themselves.
Now, I think, they are proud of me although they do say “Dad you’re doing exactly what you did when you played ‘proper’ football, you don’t run”.
True but the goals are a lot smaller thankfully.
What are the costs involved in order for you to play Walking Football for foot ware, kit and weekly session fees?
We pay a fee of £3 per session, £3.50 for evenings under the lights so very good value.
Yes you do have to purchase boots and, in my case, gloves but you would have to do so in whatever sport or pastime you took part in.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Only that anyone who wants to be part of a team game again after many years should find a club close to them and start to enjoy themselves again.