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Achilles Heel* & William McGonagall Plays Walking Football (MEGA BLOG)

"Hardest game in the world" says Ron Manager describing anything that resembles football So imagine if you would the frustration of apparently looking at least half fit but knowing that actually playing the game immediately evokes crippling pains emanating from your foot whenever you walk, run or amble It's not big nor is it very clever

The midweek Sutton SoccerDome session presents a great opportunity for you to perambulate around the pitch with like minded folk but reality bites you and points out the folly of attempting such activity Lord Rainford is managing his recovery through this injury hell just now Trying to shrug it off on a Monday morning in the hope that Wednesday's session can involve some Refereeing therapy So far so good - but I'm giving the plot away!

34 players, 3 Referees and a dodgy spectator or two crowded into the Studio above Reception anxiously aware that it would soon be game time Would they get a decent team tonight or would they be with the stiffs? Answers on a postcard to.......

The warm up, comprising of some novel twists and stretches that heartened the long term injured was soon undertaken by Andy Man(anger) and bibs laid out ready for the Sorting Hat (Harry Potter reference) to do its worse The sides selected had much to say about the outcome but rest assured there truly little to chose on paper As most walking footballers will attest the game is never played on paper!

Those teams were;

Sky (6) - Robin, Enoch, Les Hewitt, Dec, Barry and Kenny

Blue (6) - Neil Simm, Steve Carine, Andy Man(anger), Chris 4G, Chris 10P and Gonzalo

Purple (6) - Cockney Rebel, Grav (hamstrung), Lee Thomo, Les Meldrew, Nigel and Keith

Red (6) - Rich, Matt, Tom Stretch, Michelle, Little John and Harry

White (5) - Eamon, Wickie, Haggis, Willo and Steve Honeyman

Neon (5) - Mike Ox, Joe the Ghost, Dave Martland, Phil the Power and Deggs

The prospect of handling a 5 a side game enthused Jeff Betty and it turned out to be a smart call There was a moment of 'heated exchange' featuring the Unlikely Lads - Dave Martland and Steve Honeyman The flash point was efficiently defused by our Tournament Ref Herr Betty and the game trundled on It was a close contest slow to ignite but turned out to be a slow burning cracker as the sides shared 10 goals Eamon hit a hat trick with Steve settling for a brace In reply Joe ghosted in for 2, Phil, the Ox and Deggs found the net in reply So 5-5 and honours even Deggs was spared a visit to the Blue Card naughty chair by Betty Overall an entertaining game though some serious lessons in basic defending were desperately required

The Blue and Sky sides served up an intriguing game Sky were never out of contention but were their own worse enemy with repeated defensive errors giving their more clinical opponents a one-sided score line even if the actual game was far less convincing

An early goal by Gonzalo was quickly doubled then Steve Carine claimed the third interrupting the Gonzalo goal haul At 4-0 Gonzalo retreated to the Blue back line, copying the Kenny Nolan Quarterback style with a possibly more effective outcome Chris 4G claimed the fifth before Chris 10P made it 6 and finally Andy sealed the 7-0 result

Its difficult to believe perhaps but the real difference was the clinical finishing that Blue inflicted on their hapless opponents

in the next Round Blue faced a sterner test with Purple starting with a high press to disrupt their opponents Cockney Rebel presented some dazzling footwork and encouraged his side to match his example Grav was soon struggling to overcome his hamstring injury Goals by Steve Carine, Gonzalo and Chris10P quickly deflated the Purple game plan Nigel chanced his luck with 2 excellent drives but at 4-0 the game was surely up

Steve Carine almost fell foul of a Llandudno fine but thankfully his snapshot did not quite clear the Arena's high fence El Presidente in a rare moment of clemency granted Purple an unlikely goal when Nigel scooped a ball into the Blue net 5-1 from an aerial trajectory Chris 4G and his midfield mate Chris 10P claimed more goals So another seven goal haul for Blue and Purple gifting too many wayward passes to an attack that was just too clinical 7-1

Red did serve up a timely reminder to others sides that stout defence and safer passing will always keep an opponent potentially in check Blue dominated possession but were unable to find the dominance they'd previously enjoyed The game petered out as an honourable draw

The final game with Sky and Purple trying to regain their dignity Nigel who had some unlucky earlier efforts forced home a volley to put Purple ahead 1-0 Kenny soon struck back having withstood a Meldrew assault with the Treasury rump to fire home Obviously the assailant denied the offence but El Presidente was unswerving and suggested that a 2 minute cool off would confirm that our Victor was in wrong

Dec Smyth put Sky ahead when he finally slowed enough to hit the target Keith struck following a decent Purple passing interlude 2-2 Grav found the space to put Purple 3-2 ahead before Barry equalised 3-3 Les Hewitt claimed a good goal for Sky 4-3 before Barry claimed what looked to be the sealer 5-3 and Sky close to victory Cockney Rebel demonstrated the art of delicate tippy tappy walking to bring Purple back in contention

Almost inevitably that was the last goal, several attempts went close Lots of effort but no further goals Sky 5 - 4 Purple

Goals galore Referees reporting an enjoyable series of games An Achilles injury holding up much to M'Lords relief A new knee lasting the course without incident No Blue Cards despite the distinct claims of Liverpudlian duo Meldrew and Deggs

Let's do it all again next week

Achilles Heel* - Toploader

Monday Action Report

T’was Ruskin Drive on a Monday morning

The urge to play walking football was calling.

I put on my trusty football boots

Hoping for some goals I could shoot.


Nearly thirty fellow players turned up for our competition

Sadly no birthdays; so no post-game baked confection.

With Andy Manager away on his vacation

Tommo took our usual warm up initiation.


The teams were:

Les, Kenny, Willo, Dave Prime, Chopper, Phil the power, big John (see little John)


Geoff P, Mike M, Paul ‘Roger’ Moore, Mags. Enoch, Barry, Clint

Donal, Molly, Eileen ( I am sorry, with apologies to Paul Moore and Dexy’s I can’t call her ‘Cum on’),  Little John (see Big John), Haggis, The Snake-hipped one, Grazer. Ref Les behind (wondering what he’s let himself in for)


Mark (no relation), Tom Stretch, ‘arry, Wicky, Paul, Lord R, Tommo.

After we’d finished our stretches and squats

Les and Jeff Bettye divide up the coloured tops.

Four teams of seven were provided,

With a silent prayer that no games would be too one sided.


The teams are pictured all below

Together with the names of all those who put on a show.

And if you think I’m putting all their names in this rhyme Let me tell you I’ve not got the time.


Jeff B and Les were our refs for the day,

Making sure we adhered to fair play.

And neither wore – I’m glad to say,

Those WFA ref tops in a hideous grey.


Ref Les took games in pitch one to hand

(that’s the one that’s nearest the stand).

Orange v Pink & Blue was his first duty

And the game turned into a real beauty.


Our pink and blue mix took the lead,

(I suppose we could call them lavender instead)

Paul the scorer, But this game was no one sider

As Orange pressed for an equaliser


From memory it might have been Barry with the score But my memory is not what it was in days of yore. But now the rest of the match was set.

Who in the end would come out best?


The goal of the day (*) then came from M’lord of Rainford’sshoe From a cross field pass by Paul, right on cue. He stroked home a shot in the net with aplomb, To put the heather mixes in front, 2-1.


You might be wondering what was happening on pitchnumber two? To be honest dears, I haven’t a clue. Although afterwards my spies told me that, at most, Blacks were beating yellows (greens?) by 3; and had also hit the post.


By the time the full time whistles blew

Pinks and blues had added another two.

Of those, Mark Davies modestly admitted he hadn’t scored one, Which if you’ve seen him play, you’ll know is rarely done.


Pinks and blues then moved on to pitch two,

Their opponents were those in a yellow and greenish hue. And owing to a mid-game transfer with Les Brack Haggis now tried his luck wearing black .


Blacks versus Orange reffed by Les on pitch one

Is another game I’ve sadly got little info on,

From discussion on the WhatsApp group by a few, It seems Orange either won 1-0; or possibly by two.


Yellow pressed Lavender hard on pitch two,

But the back line of Lord R and Wicky held true,

And after a smart move involving half the squad

Paul put them in front with a close-range prod.


It was now backs to wall for our gallant Blue and Pinks But from their defensive duties they did not flinch.

And Tommo always made herself available for an out ball, From one of which, she added to the pink/blue haul.


Still at 2-0 there was nothing really to separate both, Molly, Eileen and especially Donal all went for broke; But as often happens, this left gaps at the back, And Tommo took advantage again, after another swift attack.


At 3-0 down Blue/pinks started to put their slippers on Giving Donal the opportunity to net a deserved consolation. 3-1 was a much fairer scoreline to finish the match. A good game and played in a good spirit by all, natch.


This is the end of my rhyming sojourn in St Helens town. Poetry and walking football is a challenge to write down. I’m going back to Bonny Scotland I’m glad to say, To write more doggerel about the Sunny River Tay.


(* Well, who did you think was REALLY writing this rubbish!!)

The club were delighted to see Geoff Painter as a Spectator looking well after his recent brain bleed and spell at Hospital.

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Robin Barnes
Robin Barnes
Jul 31, 2023


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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

excellent blog once again 👍

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