Ellesmere Rangers Football Club set up a walking football section in February 2018 and is going from strength to strength.

Walking football is widely regarded as the fasted growing sport in the UK. It is a unique small-sided football game created in 2011 for the over 50’s. The biggest difference between association football and walking football is that running is not permitted, but players can walk ‘as fast as possible’!

The game is played on small pitches inside and outside and competitive matches are usually six a side. There are simple rules designed with health and safety as the paramount consideration. Tackling is allowed but the game is ‘no contact’, free kicks are indirect, and the ball must not go above head height.

Walking football is all about older people enjoying football and players of all abilities are welcome at Ellesmere Rangers. The common factor at Ellesmere Rangers is everyone mixes in and enjoys the friendliness of the club.

The game offers a multitude of health benefits including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and strokes. There are also many mental health benefits as players have ‘fun’ whilst also exercising and enjoying the ‘banter’.

Ellesmere Rangers Walking Football Club is the largest walking football club in the region and draws players from a wide area. Since its inception in February 2018 the membership has grown rapidly with around 30 members currently. The training sessions are held on a Wednesday evening in the sports hall at Ellesmere College during the winter months starting at 7.00pm, and during the summer months the training sessions are held on the same day and time on the Ellesmere Rangers Football Club pitch.

The club have enjoyed some success in the Walking Football Association National Cup in recent seasons. These national cup tournaments are held across the UK and clubs are drawn as to who they should play. Currently, teams in the Over 50’s and Over 60’s tournaments have been entered in recent years and it is hoped to enter an Over 65’s team in the 2023 National Cup tournament. They have played much larger clubs in these competitions, including Nottingham Forest Vets and Birmingham Walking Football Club, whilst the highlight may be the visit to Ellesmere of the Over 50’s world champions from West Bromwich.

As well as competitive matches they play friendlies, having recently visited Preston North End FC for a walking football friendly followed by a stadium tour around Preston North End FC’s stadium. Friendlies have been arranged for next year against Wigan Strollers Walking Football team who are associated with Wigan Athletic FC and the Liverpool Probation Service walking football team.

The club have entered Over 50’s and Over 60’s teams in many local tournaments, including Market Drayton, Shrewsbury, and more recently at a tournament in Oswestry organised by Llanfair United FC.

There is no pressure on players to play in any matches, friendly or competitive, indeed many players wish to only play in the weekly training sessions.

There is a great deal of camaraderie between all the members of Ellesmere Rangers walking Football Club, to the point where some people have decided walking football is not for them, but they still attend the social events laid on by the club.

The members range from 51 to 75 years old, and the walking football club have a group WhatsApp page where everyone is kept informed as to what is happening within the walking football group Some of the members are new to the area and they regularly comment as to how welcoming everyone is within Ellesmere Rangers.

Earlier this year, the club received a donation of £500 from the Oswestry based Charlotte Hartey Foundation, which was used to purchase tracksuits and the teams were most grateful.

If anyone would like to try walking football in Ellesmere, please contact Alan Davis on 07852 328031 or by email alan@mospares.co.uk

Pictured: North End FC – Club Visit – New Tracksuits provided by Charlotte Hartey Foundation.