A Lanarkshire politician dusted off his football boots and joined in with a session of walking football held at the home of Clyde FC.
Walking football is played by people aged 50 and over and offers an accessible way to get involved in a team sport that requires no level of physical fitness or ability.
The programme has proved to be a great success in North Lanarkshire, having nearly 100 participants playing on a weekly basis.
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Age is only a number so Central Scotland MSP Graham Simpson is encouraging others to join him in getting their trainers on to try NL Leisure’s walking football.
Mr Simpson “loved” taking part in the session at Broadwood Stadium, telling Lanarkshire Live : “It’s been some years since I put on my football boots.
“I used to play five-a-sides every week until I got fed up with getting injured and taking too long to recover.
“I still have my old football tops, it’s just that they are a little on the snug side now.
“My boots still fit, though, so I dug them out to see what all the excitement is about around walking football.
“It has really taken off across the country and North Lanarkshire is no different. Numbers have skyrocketed. There are even competitions.
“I rolled up at Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld expecting to stroll about for a bit, kick a couple of balls and not work up a sweat. It didn’t quite work out like that.
“The walking bit for these friendly kickabouts – and there a few of them every week in North Lanarkshire – is to be taken loosely. I did work up a sweat and left with a few aches that I had not bargained for. But it was great fun.
“We even had a crowd of youngsters watching from the stands who cheered my own piledriver goal, which was obviously the shot of the morning!”
Mr Simpson added: “This is aimed at the over 50s, which is great because it keeps guys who thought their footballing days were over, playing.
“It’s not just guys either, there is a growing women’s programme too.
“I would like to thank everyone who I played with and against. You were a great bunch – and thanks for not kicking me to bits!”
Nicky Laughlin, senior sports development officer with North Lanarkshire Council, said: “Our walking football programme has been a huge success in North Lanarkshire and the local community.
“We are delighted to see so many people attend on a weekly basis and have recently started a new woman’s walking football session as we look to expand.
“Our walking football team also compete across Scotland in various tournament and leagues, however, most of all, both the physical and social aspect of the game is the greatest reward.”
To find out more information about North Lanarkshire’s walking football, visit here
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