The past 12 months have seen the continued rise both on and off the field of the fortunes of Mansfield Senior Reds (MSR), Over 50s Walking Football Club, who are based at Mansfield Rugby Union Football Club. Walking football is a six-a-side version of the beautiful game and actually started as a ‘seniors’ health initiative. Mansfield Senior Reds (MSR) were founded in 2014 and are currently celebrating their fifth anniversary.
The club has a membership age range from 50 to 80 years and has over 100 members, with between 40 and 50 regularly playing in their twice weekly sessions on an outdoor artificial surface at the rugby club. Those sessions are over the 400 mark with a total of over 7,000 individual attendances. That’s an average of over 17 going to each session. Equating to 6,500 hours of ‘EE’, exercise and enjoyment, for the participants who are all veterans keeping fit and active!
Walking football has taken off in the UK and Europe, enabling seniors to maintain their health, whilst having the enjoyment and camaraderie from competitive sport. In some instances the sport has turned lives around by providing support through contact and becoming a life changer to some members who have say lost a partner and have fallen into depression and become solitary.
2019 saw ‘the Reds’ win a number of tournaments. There were two Mansfield tournament successes, followed by wins at festivals held at Dronfield and Belper.
A tournament success at Ruston near Lincoln saw them win the final on penalties, to not only take the winners’ trophy but help raise over £2,000 for a local cardiac rehab unit.
In September Mansfield Senior Reds travelled to Peschiera Del Garda on the banks of Lake Garda in northern Italy to compete in tournaments at ‘over 50’ and ‘over 65’ age groups and are now the Torneo Maestro Italiano Over 65 Champions (Italian Masters Tournament Over 65 Champions).
The over 65 tournament was two days of competition, played on a league basis. The Reds came out on top, having competed with opponents from the UK and Italy. The first day saw Mansfield Senior Reds win all their four fixtures, giving them a strong lead going into finals day where they faced four more games. By winning two and drawing two of them they clinched the title, with an unbeaten record. Their full record: played eight, won six, drawn two, lost 0, for 19, against 0, points 20. The 19 goals were shared between Steve Haynes — five, Steve Birkin — five (two penalties), Andy Kowalski — four and Geoff West — five. Goalkeeper Pete Mitchell kept eight clean sheets, including a penalty save. It was a fantastic achievement to go through the entire competition, all eight games, without conceding a goal. This was the second year they have gone to Europe and had a goalless defensive record — an endorsement of this veteran team’s commitment and team work.
The club’s membership continues to grow, along with the success on and off the field. The club continues to be committed to fundraising, hosting several social events throughout the year so they can donate to local charities, which this year included funds for the Sir John Eastwood Hospice, the Kings Mill Hospital Scanner Appeal, Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice and prostate cancer charities. Those achievements were recognised in December at the Mansfield Sports Recognition Awards at the Civic Centre, Mansfield when they were awarded the title ‘Club of the Year’.
As a footnote the club are currently assisting Mansfield District Council and the Nottinghamshire FA in starting women’s walking football in the Mansfield area.
To contact the club call 07837 661703 or email email@example.com.