2018 was an incredibly busy year for your favourite walking football team. Here is a quick reminder of a few of the highlights.
January saw the tenth anniversary of the Hawks’ famous run in the FA Cup. The Many Shades marked this occasion with a 60+ tournament. Fleet of Foot ran out the eventual winners just ahead of the Many Shades of Yellow and a long way ahead of the Many Shades of Grey. Details here.
February saw the release of a Hants FA commissioned film about walking football which featured our January Festival. The final cut can be viewed here.
March brought very exciting times at Westleigh Park with the Hawks’ first team pushing hard for promotion to the National League. Easter weekend saw many of the Many Shades helping out with the pitch covers to ensure that weekend’s crunch match with Weston-Super-Mare went ahead. More photos of welly-clad folk here.
April was a particularly busy month with the Many Shades supporting (and winning) a Football For Cancer Charity day tournament which raised over £7,000 for the FFC fund. Well done to CJ for pulling together the walking football aspects of the day.
April also saw us remembering Rich Bonsey with the, now, annual 60+ memorial festival. For the first time in 19 attempts, the Many Shades were victorious at one of its own festivals. A raffle and quiz followed with all proceeds going Southampton University Immunology Research. More photos here.
— Warning : blatant bullying attempt about to happen!! —
Also in April, The Many Shades of Grey were accepted as a worthy cause for the new Havant Borough Community Lottery.
With a weekly top prize of £25,000, please consider having a flutter and support your favourite walking football team.
For more details and to enrol, please click here.
Bullying attempt over – back to the review …
The end of the April brought wild celebrations to Westleigh Park following the Hawks’ last gasp victory v. Concord had secured them the league title and promotion to the National League.
Unfortunately, the Bognor festival was held on the following day and, not surprisingly, an emotionally wrecked and just ever so slightly hungover Many Shades got off to a very slow start. However, once the caffeine had kicked in, we went on to win the Silver Cup notching up our biggest ever victory (10-0) against Bognor Boulders en route.
Below can be seen the Special One parading the fine specimen of a trophy after the next day’s training session. Full report here.
I’m sure we’ll all agree that we don’t all do what we do for awards but it is nice to be recognised now and again. And so it was in June that we put on our Sunday best to collect the Hampshire FA Walking Football Club of the Year Award for the second time. Full report here.
This tremendous achievement was followed up in July with us collecting the National League Trust Award for Best Project for Older People. Again, this was the second time we had received this award. A well deserved “Double-double” that warranted a limited edition commemorative shirt.
July saw high temperatures across the UK but the Many Shades found appropriate methods to keep cool during training sessions including laying under Martin’s sprinkler. More photos of sweaty over-50’s here.
Despite numerous phone calls to FIFA, they refused to re-schedule their “World Cup Final” which clashed with the Many Shades Summer Festival in July. It was their loss as many forewent the preamble to watch the Many Shades take the real World Cup in style. Lengthier report here.
Jumping forward a bit, November saw perhaps the Many Shades’ greatest performance when, some would say against the odds, we were crowned Solent League Champions. Sporting our new “Snows” shirts, we beat off strong competition in the final round to claim the trophy which, report has it, is still in James’s grasp.
Full report here.
Which brings us to December and the first leg of a Boxing / New Year’s Day double header against our old rivals, the Eastleigh Dambusters. A hard fought match finished 1-1 leaving everything to play for on 1st Jan and the squad under strict orders to get to bed early the night before.
So there we have it – what a year! Apologies if I’ve missed out your personal favourite; take a look through the blog for a reminder of some of the other Many Shades related goings-on.
A BIG THANK YOU to Stew Russell for organising pretty much everything and thanks to everyone else (you know who you are) for all your time and effort to keep the Many Shades of Grey bandwagon rolling.
Happy New Year Everyone – see you at Eastleigh on New Year’s Day.