AUFA Compete in National Walking Football Tournament
Glasgow Green on Saturday 24th June 2017
The Academy sent three strong teams to the national tournament at Glasgow Green on Saturday, with 28 players travelling to the venue in the Academy minibus, cars, boats and planes!
Conditions were dry in the main, but a strong breeze worked against at least one of the teams, AUFA Maybole, who lost the toss in three of their four games and were hampered by playing the entire game into the wind.
32 teams competed in 8 sections of 4 and AUFA Ayr and AUFA Maybole successfully negotiated their way to the last 16, with AUFA Prestwick suffering from a controversial decision to let the celebrity team, Show Racism the Red Card, progress to the final stages, although they fielded an “under age” Barry Ferguson and other retired players such as ex Ayr United Assistant Manager, Ally Dawson.
Still, the guys appreciated the privilege of playing on the same pitch as the football legends, not to mention the Minister for Public Health and Sport, Aileen Campbell, who narrowly escaped a yellow card for her rough treatment of our own Minister, Jim Smith!
Anyway, on to the round of 16 and the draw didn’t do any favours to the two AUFA teams, pitching them against Gretna and Midlothian, the eventual finalists. There was little between the teams in both hard fought games, with AUFA Ayr going out on penalties and AUFA Maybole being narrowly defeated in normal time. Midlothian went on to beat Gretna in the final.
From a footballing point, then, it was a disappointing day as we fancied at least one of the teams to progress further, but all in all it was a great day out. I capture some of the more memorable memories of the day:
AUFA were the only Club to enter three full teams, testimony to the strength of the AUFA Walking Football programme in South Ayrshire and to the passion and commitment of the players who took part.
Walking Football debuts for Gerry Stokes (who scored from a free kick with his first ever Walking Football touch!), Hugh McKay, Gordon McBlain, Sandy Lawrie and Jimmy McBride.
A first game hat trick for Ian Mason, who brought his sons to the tournament prove to them that his goal scoring “stories” are indeed fact!
Competing in the same tournament as Derek and Barry Ferguson, Joe Miller, Alex Rae, Ally Dawson and Frank McAvennie, amongst others.
And many more stories and feats to be exaggerated in the cafes (it’s Walking Football, remember, alcohol free) of South Ayrshire.
Thank you to:
Tournament Organisers, Matt Ramsay and Billy Singh and their respective organisations, Glasgow Life and Paths for All, for arranging a great day for all, and
AUFA’s Community Programme staff, Shaun Ferrie, Thomas Donovan and Nicholas Provan for all of their pre-tournament help, and for the use of AUFA kit and the minibus.