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Havant and Waterlooville Over 50’s Walking Football

The Hawks’ 50+ walking football team, known as the Many Shades of Grey, have been a part of the Hawks in the Community family since September 2014.

Participation has grown from a tentative group of four at the first session to an average of over twenty joining in across each of the three sessions we hold each week, and nearly a hundred people have registered as players over the years.

The Many Shades have thrived as a supportive and friendly group, welcoming people of all backgrounds and abilities. While like any competitors in any sport we like to win, we have always believed that giving people the chance to take part is the most important aspect of our existence. We also take player wellbeing very seriously, and play 3-touch football to minimize the risk of physical contact. It’s inevitable that players do occasionally get injured through trying to re-live their long-since passed youth, and the first part of each session is a structured warm-up to reduce the risk of injury.

Prior to the current Covid19 pandemic, we had managed to give Many Shades’ competitive debuts to nearly 80 players. All of the matches we play in are for specific age groups, ranging from 50+ through to 70+. Although our attendance at festivals, tournaments, leagues, and other assorted friendlies is arranged outside of the Hawks Foundation remit, we are proud to represent the club, wearing the badge with dignity and giving it the respect it deserves.

The Many Shades have enjoyed some success in Walking Football tournaments, including winning in France in 2016, at Fratton Park in 2018, and being crowned the inaugural Solent League Champions in 2018. Along with these on-field honours, we have twice been awarded Hampshire FA “Walking Football Team of the Year” (2016 & 2018), as well as National League Trust “Best Project for Older People” (2016 & 2018), and were named Havant Borough Sports Association (HBSA) “Senior Team of the Year” at their 2019 Awards night. While most opportunities for 2020 were wiped out by Covid19, some individual awards were still won through HBSA, including “Service to Sport” and “Veteran Sportsman”.

The Many Shades of Grey hold their sessions on Mondays and Fridays at the Draper Tools Community Stadium (Westleigh Park) from 9.30am until 11am. The fee is £3 per person. Afterwards we retire to the main bar at the Westleigh for tea/coffee and biscuits and cake to undo any good the exercise may have just done. On Wednesday evenings we hold a session for the workers of this world, from 6.00pm until 7.00pm, also at the stadium. This session also costs £3 per person, but is subject to change if the Hawks’ first team are at home, in which case the session will be moved to the Wednesday morning starting at 9.00am. It is strongly suggested that players arrive 15 minutes before the session starts, so that they are ready for the warm-ups. There are no sessions on Bank Holidays.

If you are physically able to kick a ball, aged fifty or over, and possess a sense of humour, feel free to come and join us. If you can’t do that, why not support us through the Havant Borough Lottery? As well as supporting us, you could win yourself £25,000. Just go to our page at https://www.havantlottery.co.uk/support/the-many-shades-of-grey

A few of our all-time records…

Record victory: vs Bognor Regis Boulders 10 – 0 Record defeat: vs Uxbridge 8 – 1, vs Eastleigh 7 – 0. Highest scoring match: Many Shades 11 vs Weston-S-Mare Seagulls 8 Record attendance: Weston-S-Mare Seagulls 1 vs Many Shades 0 (half-time exhibition) 467

Highest amount raised for charity in one Festival: £1833.00