So it was appropriate that Lagos Strollers first International Walking Football Tournament should feature two former Liverpool players, Alan Kennedy and John Aldridge, who have served the club with distinction.
Twelve teams from Scotland, Spain, England and the Algarve competed in the 50+ and 60+ age group games played over two days. Alan Kennedy, who scored the decisive goals in Liverpool’s European Cup successes of 1981 and 1984, has been playing walking football twice a week on Merseyside for the past two years. He said, “it gets me out of my comfort zone. Instead of having an extra cup of tea in the morning, I’m meeting people, talking to people, finding out about people and it has been very rewarding for me.”
John Aldridge’s illustrious career included spells at Liverpool and Real Sociedad as well as representing the Irish Republic in sixty-nine internationals and scoring nineteen goals.
In a tightly contested tournament at the well appointed Clube Desportivo De Odiaxere it was East Algarve Walking Football (EAWF) Olhão who won the 50+ section, winning nine and losing one. Esquina Park Rangers, Costa Cálida, Murcia (Spain) were runners-up two points behind with the Celtic Reds, featuring Alan Kennedy and John Aldridge, in third place.
Other positions were: (4th) EAWF Tavira; (5th) Walking Football Spain (Marbella) and (6th) EAWF São Bras. In the 60+ section the first days results were expunged as a team from Vilamoura were found to have fielded three underage players.
The appreciative crowd were delighted on the second day to see Geri-Atricks of Argyll (Scotland) win the 60+ section on goal difference from Browns (Algarve) with EAWF Olhão in third place. Other placings:(4th) Lagos Tigers; (5th) Lagos Oranges and (6th) EAWF Tavira.
The final words go to Alan Kennedy, “The point about walking football is it brings people together and sometimes football can be secondary. It gets people out of their homes and that’s the same for former players, too. It keeps me agile and keeps me going. I’ve just had my 65th birthday, but I don’t feel that old. I am trying to get more people involved.”