VETERANS’ football continues to go from strength-to-strength across Suffolk.
The Norfolk & Suffolk Veterans’ League, which was set up 20 years ago for players aged 35 and over with just six teams, continues to grow – and has some exciting plans for future expansion.
The league, which currently has 53 teams across nine divisions, has already received interest from a further half-a-dozen teams for next season, including Stowmarket Town and Great Yarmouth Town.
Dave McGregor, the league’s chairman, said: “We get new teams joining our league most seasons as veterans’ football becomes more and more popular.
“As a result we want to open up what we can offer to continue to attract new teams while still keeping it competitive.
“Not everyone can play at weekends due to family commitments and work, so we are looking at setting up a midweek 7-a-side league once a month and also Walking Football so they can play when they want.
“We don’t want their footballing journey to end just because they think their 11-a-side career is finished. There are other formats which they can play.”
McGregor, who plays for Ipswich side Coplestonians FC, continued: “We are looking at playing 7-a-side matches, hiring three pitches for three hours and having 12 teams taking part.
“With each team having up to ten players paying say £3 each, you could stage three matches of 20 minutes each, meaning teams would play 24 matches across a season of eight months.
“We are also looking at a 9-a-side Over-50s league – Coplestonians have a three-quarter-size pitch and Framlingham have two pitches – as well as 5-a-side Walking Football.
“Not everyone wants to play competitively, so we could have a competitive league and also a friendly league.”
Suffolk FA Senior Football Development Officer Darren Scoulding said: “We have seen the positive impact that both recreational midweek leagues and Walking Football activity can have on players when weekend football is not possible either logistically or physically.
“These are great initiatives and will see the league maintaining the strong bond that they have with its clubs and players.”
The league’s annual meeting is scheduled for June 19th and McGregor said that prospective new teams should get in touch before then.
Interested teams should contact Phil Ramsay, the league secretary, on 07717 180009 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave McGregor is pictured above (maroon shirt) playing for Coplestonians in last season’s Suffolk FA Walking Football Cup sponsored by Replay Maintenance.