With an average age of 75, could this be Warwickshire's oldest football team?
FORGET the Euros – the real footie action is taking place in Newbold-on-Stour, where a team has been founded with an average age of 75.
Members of Newbold-on-Stour Football Team decided to kick Covid into touch with a line-up of septuagenarians, who meet every Sunday on the village green to enjoy their own match of the day for an hour before the White Hart pub opens at noon. Post-match interviews and tactics are discussed over a pint.
In the professional game a goalkeeper's career generally lasts longer than other players, and some are still on top of their game in their 40s. But Newbold's keeper Bernard Gardner has taken this concept to new heights at the age of 83.
Although they don't compete in a league, after last week's 9-1 result between themselves, the players have just announced the appointment of their first manager – former White Hart landlord Jim Cruttwell, who retired a fortnight ago after 36 years behind the bar.
The beautiful game has been stripped back to basics and the team take to the field for the sheer fun of it. Players wear what they like, whether it's shorts or tracksuit bottoms. Nobody is bigger than the club and there are no nicknames, so you won't find a Gazza or a Becks on the pitch.
Meanwhile, £80 has been set aside for a couple of goalposts, although VAR is surplus to requirements. Match officials are in short supply but some home support has started to develop, with a small crowd turning up to watch the action on the green.
The idea of a senior citizen's team first took hold at Newbold village stores and post office and it was sub-postmaster Steve Johal who started asking more mature customers if they fancied a kickabout.
Steve, a mere youth at 67 and a half, told the Herald: "Older people don't get out much and with Covid-19 they were sitting at home and not getting out in the fresh air.
"So we formed a football team and now have 14 members – although not everyone turns up, and we might miss a few players this Sunday because of Father's Day. It's a bit of fun and all the running around builds up a thirst for a pint after the match."
The team plays five-a-side and was formed a few weeks ago. All the players live in the village and the line-up includes farmers, business people and, of course, a sub-postmaster.