Updated: May 31
Written by Allan Cockram:
In 2022 I was in Spain and met my old St. Albans Chairman, Bernard Tominey for an ice cold beer. He asked me to play football for a team he was involved with and little did I know what affect it would have on my life. We met at the local stadium and in 30 degrees of heat and I experienced my first ever game of Walking Football with an amazing community of Ex-Pats. I listened carefully to their stories of their loss of partners and loneliness and was impressed by their camaraderie and I decided there and then this would be my next Penguin team.
In September 2022, the Brentford Emperor Penguins Walking Football team was launched. I didn’t really know what to expect but 8 months on, we have 19 players and we have played at Watford’s training ground amongst other places and have met many lovely people from other Clubs. But more than that, we have built a team that trusts and cares about each other and are willing to share and communicate their feelings. The player’s age range from 52-72 – some are retired, some are semi-retired and some still work but when we come together we are 1 team.
We have got much fitter, we understand the game better and have lost a combined weight of 109lbs but more importantly, it is a vehicle to share and inspire, to learn and rekindle youth, where mental health improves alongside your dignity and confidence. We have come a long way, the journey is a forever one and we are tackling rejection in what can be a lost generation.
Images from that very first experience of Walking Football in Spain: