Motherwell Community Trust ready to compete against European giants in EFDN Walking Football Tournament
Walking football is for anyone whose age or fitness levels would prevent them from playing normal football.
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They thought their football glory days were behind them.
However, eight footballers aged between 50 and 70 will step onto the pitch in Leverkusen and represent Motherwell in European competition.
The club’s participation in the EFDN Walking Football Tournament in Germany later today will see them compete against giants such as Bayer Leverkusen, Benfica, Eintracht Frankfurt, Real Betis and FC Schalke.
Other UK clubs participating include Rangers, Newcastle United and Greenock Morton.
And it is a dream come true for Steelmen fans Derek Cunningham and Brian Douglas.
Brian, who lives in North Lanarkshire, said: “I was 13 and living in Glasgow I got my first full Motherwell kit. Joe Wark’s family lived round the corner and when he visited he’d see me, the only Motherwell kit amongst the others, and he’d make a point of chatting to me.
“The idea I’ll be running about at my tender age with my name on the back of my shirt… I must admit, I’m well made up. I’m excited.”
Despite having had surgery on both knees, Derek, who resides in Bearsden, has been attending the Motherwell FC Community Trust activity for the past five years.
The 65-year-old said: “Walking football is like a time machine – for an hour on the park you’re suddenly 16 again and we all behave like it!
“Motherwell is my team and any supporter would be proud to pull on the jersey. We’ll do our best. We hope we get the results to do the club proud.”
Walking football is for anyone whose age or fitness levels would prevent them from playing normal football. The Community Trust team has taken part in many tournaments and competitions, but never one abroad.
Team coach Chris MacFarlane admitted: “The whole experience of going out as part of a team that’s going out to play for Motherwell, pull on a Motherwell badge, travel in Motherwell kit… that’s something really special for the guys.
“To be on that list with some of those massive clubs within Europe is really exciting.”
The team – comprising eight players and two coaching staff – have been supported to take part in the tournament by sponsors Blue Triangle.
Iain Macfarlane, CEO of Blue Triangle, stated: “We are very proud to have done our small part in making some big dreams come true.
“It was a privilege to meet the team and see them presented with their strips and training kit, including an extra bag to bring the trophy home! It’s fantastic to see The Well still in Europe and I’m sure they’ll do us all proud.”
The Well Society have also contributed, with Derek Watson commenting: “The Community Trust does a fantastic job of bringing people from all backgrounds and abilities together through football.
“We’re delighted to be able to support the team to take this step and promote the club, nationally and internationally. It’s a joy to see the pride these guys have in wearing the shirt and the ambition they have to do well for the club and the community it serves.”