A walking football coach met two of the sport’s greats and scored a hat-trick in just 20 minutes during a national competition.
Graham Button, coach of the Seaton Carew Strollers, entered the Barclays Digital Eagles Walking Football Match back in January, in the hope the event would raise the profile of the game.
Walking football is football for those aged 50 who may be injured and looking to get back into sport.
Mr Button, was delighted after meeting football legends Alan Shearer and Graham Taylor at the match, where he scored a hat-trick in just 20 minutes.
“I played in the first game with the Folkstone Wanderers and scored two goals in the first half and one goal after half-time,” he said.
“I got to keep the ball, which was signed by Alan Shearer, former World Cup winner Geoff Hurst and Tottenham and England striker Harry Kane - no one was taking that off me!
“It was a brilliant day.”
Mr Button travelled to the New River Sports Centre in Tottenham to take part in the national tournament, which was organised by Steve Rich, coach of the Kent team Folkestone Wanderers.
“Walking football means players have got to walk for the whole game, but as long as they have one foot on the ground they can walk as quickly or as slowly as they like,” Graham said.
“The competition was held down in London in Tottenham to try to promote the game to bring it to the world stage and highlight the benefits.”
The event saw celebrities including Alan Shearer and Blue Peter’s Helen Skelton take to the pitch to compete in a celebrity match against the Folkestone Wanderers.
“Barclays Digital Eagles ran the event to expose this new game to make people 50 and over aware of the interest it’s gaining,” he said.
“I called up the organiser Steve and asked if I could come down to try to promote the sport in our area.
“Up in the North East you don’t get a lot of exposure, so I wanted to try to promote walking football in the region.”
In Seaton Carew there are 35 players who train every Monday at the JD Sports Domes.
There is no upper age limit for the game, with the Seaton Carew Strollers FC players ranging from 52 to their oldest and fastest player, 62-year-old Peter Crawford from Blackhall.
The team, sponsored by Rob Collier of Advanced Retail Solutions Ltd, have the option to play at their own pace or play competitively, but no leagues have been set up at the moment.
Their next match will be competing against the Leggy Mombos in the International England Cup on September 27.