The talk of football nowadays appears to surround VAR, abuse to referees, diving, over the top tackles, racism, sin bins, to name just a few writes Merv Colenutt, but there does appear to be one aspect of our national game that can still bring pleasure to those still competing.

I am talking about Walking Football, which continues to grow at a rate of knots in the last decade and to get more info about Walking Football in Somerset, it gave me the opportunity to catch up with Aaron Clements who is the Football Development Officer at the Somerset FA.

Aaron stated that his role as Football Development Officer includes working around alternative pathways in developing walking football, vets leagues, over 35s, 45s, 60s and five a side football, in fact all different formats of the game that you would put in the category of non-traditional football.

Aaron added: “Walking football for instance today is for our 60s men’s football, there is also an over 50s league as well and we are hoping in the future to get an over 75s league.

“It all began in 2015/16, there were a few teams around at the time from Yeovil, Weston and Keynsham, they had all started their own clubs as Barclaycard brought out an advert around that time promoting walking football and through that advert, walking football for the older generation including ex professional footballers began to boom and at the FA, we were contacted by a couple of other clubs.

“I did some research in Somerset and we came up with 3 or 4 other teams in those initial stages and we called those clubs into a meeting, asked them what they were looking for and their response was that, we want to play against each other in friendly games, so as an association, we instigated exactly that and we are now putting money aside each year for these provisions.

“I managed to put money aside for things like, covering costs for referees fees and we now have several friendly festivals."

Recently, Somerset FA held their second Walking Football friendly festival of the season and it featured 14 teams and over 100 players taking part from all over the county.

Including teams from Portishead Town FC, Clevedon Town Football Club, Weston-super-Mare AFC, Taunton Town FC, Nailsea Walking Football, Western Rebels Walking Football, Crewkerne Walking Football Group, Midsomer Norton Walking Football, Ilminster WFC and more! 

Next week-how walking football is going from strength to strength for all ages.