Monthly preview

Since writing this preview we’ve learned that Committee member and Referee Alan Graham has been admitted to hospital in emergency circumstances. We all offer our concern and support to Al and his family in these circumstances and hope to see him fit and well as soon as possible.

Alan will be a BIG miss. To get us over the line, complete the league with as little upheaval as possible Denis Cudahy will Referee the first game on Pitch 2 beofr ejoining the Beed squad for their later 11.00am. start. There may be an opportunity for a qualified Referee with the Vintage Celtic party to officiate their game against Tameside Striders, or the final fixture Denton Wednesday v. Tameside Striders if they so wish. in the interests of fairness. Otherwise Alan Richards will Referee those games and Burnley WF v. Tameside Striders al on Pitch 2. The 11-30am fixture between Bolton Arena and Nash Bees will be played on Pitch One. This gives the three main title contenders some consistency in their remaining fixtures.

Both official, and players face something of a learning curve on Pitch 2. With goodwill it needn’t be an obstacle to another good morning of walking football.

The preview below was written well ahead of these measures being needed and once again, as organisers and participants we hold Alan Graham uppermost in our thoughts at this time.

The tournament ‘planner’ used way back in late August 2018 to work out the fixtures for our league could not have come up with a more exciting climax to the F.P.L.
With three teams realistically in with a chance of the overall title they ALL play each other on the final day.

Nash Bees, currently top of the table start late. A ‘clash of the Nash’ with second placed Amblers on Garry Pearce’s Pitch One at 11-00am.
By then both Bolton Arena and Nash Amblers will have opened their programme as close to 10-30 as we can possibly manage, with both teams ‘away’. Arena to Burnley, and Amblers to bottom place Tameside Striders, who will be looking to improve their ultimate position. Winning is definitely not everything here but nobody wants to finish last if it can be avoided.
While the Nash contingent are facing each other at 11-00am. Bolton Arena will be ‘away’ on Pitch 3 facing Denton Wednesday under the watchful eye of Mark Bradshaw.
At 11.30 Arena will NOW face Nash Bees on pitch ONE under Mr. Garry Pearce , whilst Amblers host Vintage Celtic – in Celtic’s final game of the competition on pitch three.
The final games, which could by now become crucial sees Nash Amblers playing Bolton Arena on Pitch One. Which should be a really interesting duel. Meanwhile the Bees ‘swan song’ comes ‘away’ to Burnley.
Burnley could have a major influence on the destination of the FPL Championship Trophy. They play two of the top three , a test for frontwalkers Nash Bees on pitch three to close both teams campaigns.
Nash Bees need just two more Fair Play points to take the ‘Ken Richards Cup’ for Fair Play and Sportsmanship, so they will want to be on their best behaviour all morning and make sure that none are deducted. It only takes a burst of over exuberance to lose FP points. With an average 0.6 awarded per game compared to a league average of 0.4 per game they look best placed to clinch this award, which I know would mean a lot to their Co-Manager Gordon Nixon, who has borne the brunt of the Bees campaign on his shoulders. This month Colin Fielding is back to assist.
Blue or even red cards for any of the top three teams could open the door up to those lower down the league to zoom in and clinch a trophy. As we have only had two blue card, and NO red throughout the entire competition we must hope this doesn’t happen.
Whether one team takes two trophies, or there is a wider spread of rewards there will be a maximum of nine medals avaialable to the Championship winners. A permanent memento of what has been a unique experiment in the world of British walking football.
At the other end of the table the two bottom teams Denton Wednesday and Tameside Striders will be hoping they can each avoid ignominy – such as it is – of holding everyone else up.

We hope all participants have enjoyed the competition, which of course might have flaws but the overall message “WINNING IS NOT EVERYTHING” has hopefully been reinforced over the last eight months.
Alan Richards
Curzon Wednesday Walking Football Fair Play League.

IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN….

 
April preview coming soon…
 

COUNTDOWN TO F.P.L. MARCH 27th. and a preview of the action to come…

Tameside Striders open up their March round with game against Denton Wednesday.  Both of these teams have spent the last six months alternating at the bottom of the  ‘fair play league’ Buoyed by a win against Burnley last time out,  but still without the mobile Steve Wingrove, Striders need to start gathering some fair play points, and score more goals !

With neither squad able to  enjoy the extra vigour of  an outfield  player in his fifties ,and Wednesday, with arguably the highest average age, Striders are not far behind them.  Garry Pearce will Referee this one and both will be looking for a victory in  a bid to stay above the other in the final analysis.
David Wilson will be elsewhere when his team are ‘battling’ to get off the bottom. His message to his men must surely be ‘beware the Strides of March’ !

Referee Alan Graham looks like returning to an  eagerly awaited top of the table clash on pitch two. Nash Amblers ‘at home’  to Bolton Arena.  These two meet twice in the run in and the head to head results could be pivotal in deciding the destination of the FPL ‘Gold’ Trophy. Will it journey up the motorway to Bolton, or stay handily near home.  Both of the earlier games between these two failed to produce a single goal.


Amblers have only been defeated once in seventeen games and have the meanest defensive record with just four goals against. In keeping with Amblers traditions over the last three years.

If goal difference should ultimately come into play then  Bolton are currently well ahead with a positive of fourteen. Before that happens of course combined match won AND fair play points will be used to adjudge the overall winners.
In this regard we must not overlook  the challenge of the Nash Bees or Burnley of course,  and the two face each other on pitch three at 10-30am. Mark Bradshaw will officiate.

The Bees  had a mixed February after pulling up trees in the early months.  Burnley may have John Walton back in their ranks after Achilles tendon trouble and Graham Hill will hope to be back between the sticks after injuring his wrist. it’s thought coach Sam Wilcock will be back at pitch side to spur his team on.  Meanwhile Colin Fielding is still absent for the Bees who will look to co-manager Gordon Nixon for inspiration and to the lively Brereton , and Jones to deliver some goals. A very good day for either of these two teams could put a  very different complexion on the table heading into April’s final round,  but they each have a lot of work to do.


Vintage Celtic will have time and space to warm up for their first fixture at 11-00am.  They will face Bolton Arena on Pitch 2  and will need to hit the ground walking to contain the Bolton men.  Celtic are the draw specialists this season with six nil-nil results and a couple of scoring draws to their credit.  I’m sure they would view stalemate a good result in their first test, and no doubt Nash Amblers would too ! Celtic have three games, all against teams higher than themselves in the table so there is lots of scope for improving their position.


Three teams play four games this month. Burnley WF, Denton Wednesday and Nash Bees. Bolton Arena have the early finish and might be first in the queue for a chip barmcake.  The bread element sponsored this month by Woz Taylor, Denton Wednesday’s goalkeeper. Thank you Woz.
Bread and butter issues aside we hope the penultimate round is as enjoyable as the rest. Smiles seem to abound on these days at Curzon Ashton ,  and I was delighted  when the F.P.L.  was described as   ‘one of the best organised tournaments we’ve had here’ by someone close enough to the top of the Curzon club for his opinion to mean  a great deal.
Let’s all do our best to ensure ‘winning’ the one in the middle is not everything! I’ve already heard one team manager say he’d rather win the one on the right ~ which exemplifies Fair Play League thinking.

L to R: Second Place, League Champions, Fair Play ‘Ken Richards’ Cup.

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With most of the games behind us now the league table suggests it’s still possible for any of four or five teams to surge towards the top. Currently led by The Nash Bees due to their fair play haul so far, they will be hoping to put together some better results than their three defeats last time.  They finished on  a high with  a win over Vintage Celtic so will hope to resume in better form on the 27th.They take on Tameside Striders first of all with the Denton based team at the other end of the table.

Gordon Nixon will have sole control of the Bees this time as his assistant Colin Fielding is unavailable.

Alan Graham, unwell at the time of writing, will hopefully recover in time to officiate in this one on Pitch Two. Get well soon Al.

  • – – –
    Bolton Arena, who  have amassed  more match won points than any other team have a later start.  They have leapfrogged The Nash Amblers after the latters point deduction and will face rivals Burnley at ten-thirty as the  ‘away’ team on Pitch One with Garry Pearce .
  • Seen by some as the favourites to win this league they will need to keep adding fair play points to their total and make sure they don’t concede any on their way.
  • – – – – – –
    Nash Amblers face a four game programme. Mostly against familiar opposition and there’s another ‘Clash of the Nash’ at 11.30am. on Pitch 2. where Bees will be lying in wait. Amblers had a good round at the start of the month and will hope to maintain that momentum . 
  • They will finish their late February fixtures with a ‘home’ game against Vintage Celtic who they beat the  beginning of the month. Amblers are competing in the People’s Cup at Ardwick before these fixtures albeit with a different looking team.  Let’s hope they manage to avoid any  injuries in Manchester.
  • – – – – –
    Vintage Celtic themselves are another team with  a maximum four game agenda this time around. They will be on Mark Bradshaw’s Pitch Three at 10-30am. to face Burnley Walking Football.
  • Next up are  Denton Wednesday (Pitch Two) and Tameside Striders  (Pitch One) before winding up back on Pitch Three to face Nash Amblers once again. Celtic are another team  looking for improvement after a disappointing last session.
    Burnley WF have a break at 11.30 but after facing Vintage Celtic and Bolton Arena they may need to catch their breath before taking on Tameside Striders in their final game.  Coach Sam Wilcock will not be with his team this time around but we understand that  a capable deputy is stepping into the Claret’s hot seat.

    Sam Wilcock
  • We hope to see you back in March Sam. The Turf Moor group had a mixed bag of results last time, but did manage to put three goals past the league leaders Nash Bees with the help of a hat trick from this man.

  • Denton Wednesday will be first in the snack bar to take advantage of a free muffin. Buttered and poised to be handed out with chips courtesy this time of Keith Yardley , of the Nash Amblers who has kindly offered to sponsor our barmcakes.  (Thanks Keith – Ed.)Before that though Wednesday, who climbed over Striders and are no longer bottom of the league may be welcoming back  a couple of players absent last time. 
  • Ken Dean and Eric Thomas are thought to be ready for a return to bolster the squad for co-manager’s Wilson and Stafford. Perhaps their toughest test will come against Bolton Arena on Pitch 3 at 11.30.
  • – – – – – –
    Meanwhile Tameside Striders have sought to remedy their goal drought by ‘signing’ Denton Over 65 player of last year Terry Harrison, a prolific striker in internal games.(full story on the Striders page) Striders also have four games on the 27th and will probably utilise all of their nine man squad in these games. 
  • Tough looking matches against Amblers and Bees will be an early signal of their ability to haul themselves off the bottom of the Fair Play League. They need to rethink their approach and garner some Referee’s points. Keep cool and calm and play the game for its own sake. AND of course, score some goals!
    Other arenas may soon beckon those with a more competitive focus.  This league is meant to be enjoyed first and foremost. Relax and settle down and remember this is WALKING football.
  • – – – – – – –
    The Referees will speak to all the players en masse before these upcoming fixtures.
    #NoMeanFeet
  • WE look forward to welcoming all of our teams on the 27th. February
  • You might also like a look at one of the most comprehensive walking football group websites around: http://www.tamestriderswalkingfootball.org.uk
  • And finally Don’t forget TAMESTRIDERS TV where you’ll find a few FPL videos just click on this link. Please leave a thumbs up or a comment – <tune in>
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So – the countdown clock stopped, the snow came and we were robbed of our January sessions.

The weather looks a completely different kettle of fish for this coming Wednesday.  Hopefully the hasty re-arrangement has not caused you too much inconvenience.
I spoke to Marcus at Bolton and he actually said the change may help him attend so if that’s the case we look forward to seeing him at Curzon.
The Nash Bees will also have co-manager Gordon Nixon back to assist his squads bid to stay at the top of the FPL.  They have four games this months as do Burnley WF  and Bolton Arena.
Last weeks cancellation – ironic really – as our winter break coincided with the worst weather we’ve seen so far. A lesson for big time football that you can just never predict when the worstwill come.  With milder air coming in the next day or two and a dry outlook lets hope Wednesday goes off without a hitch.
On a more parochial note, Tameside Striders may  be without Laurie O’Toole and the squad will reduce to just seven if that’s the case.  We are already getting enquiries about next season and the league has created some interest in wider walking football circles. With just one Blue card shown in thirty six games we compare very favourably with some other tournaments. That may be down to the mind set of players seeking to take part in a ‘Fair Play competition. To the application of our Referees, whatever it is let’s hope the philosophy and the enjoyment keeps going into Spring – we look forward to welcoming you all to Curzon Ashton on Wednesday. Since we last convened the club have suffered off the pitch with two break-ins but on the pitch they are unbeaten in 2019 and Mark Bradshaw (pitch three Referee)  has made an excellent start to his role as first team manager.
See you midweek.

January preview:

The resumption of the FPL gets underway at 10-30am. on the 30th. of January – lets hope for an absence of snow , the only thing that can scupper our plans.
The first round of games sees the fancied Bolton Arena team take on  top of the table Nash Bees on Pitch One . Can the Bolton men trim the Bees lead back a bit and stay in contention? Bees Co-Manager Gordon Nixon is unavailable for this round of games and so Colin Fielding steps up to the solo plate to lead his Bees. With four games he faces a stern test.

  • – – – – –
    Tameside Striders face Burnley F.C. W.F. and welcome Rob Lake back into their ranks. Rob missed out  injured last time out as did Peter Dixon, leaving Striders a bit short.  Peter Smith was temporarily drafted in (having missed the Amblers October games) to make sure Striders could fulfil their fixtures. Smith now return to the Amblers squad and their first game is against Vintage Celtic. Just as well because they have ‘lost’ Steve Tomlinson.
  • – – – – – – –
    Short term loans and longer term transfers are permitted in the FPL.  If ANY team is struggling to raise sufficient numbers get in touch and we will see if we can help. The four teams from Denton and Ashton groups do not have an inexhaustible supply of players – far from it –  but most will manage to have a player or two on the sidelines.  IT can’t be guaranteed they’d accept but the question could be asked.  Like wise, if you ‘discover’ a player between rounds and want to include him in your squads there is nothing to stop you so long as they endorse  the fair play ethos and your average age remains above 62 years. Let’s keep peripheral rules to a minimum.
  • – – – – – – – –
    *This time , only players who did not attend in November will need to self-identify on camera. * Team sheets will be available on the morning but the lack of an  i.d. ritual will save time.
  • – – – – – – – – –
    Bees, Bolton and Burnley all have four games this month. Denton Wednesday get off to the later 11-00am start and the Nash Amblers will be  done and dusted for noon and the early finish.
  • – – – – – – – – –
    The snack bar will be open by then and the Ambler’s John Smith is January’s sponsor for  twenty buttered muffins , one given free to the first purchasers of chips n’ gravy. It’s appropriate that John’s  team will have first bite at a free barmcake. (If you don’t want to miss out on   a chip butty bring your own barm)
  • – – – – – – – – – –
    The full  January fixture list is live  on the website. We hope to  have a couple of extra volunteers to capture the action and maybe also to man a linesman’s flag if required.
    Good luck to all taking part and we’ll see you on the day. A reminder : entry fee is capped at £35 per team payable to Mark Bradshaw of the Curzon club who Referees on pitch 3. . Incidentally,  since we last convened Mark has been appointed team manager at ‘The Nash’ in case you didn’t know. After a couple of early reverses his team has now won four games on the bounce in  Vanarama National League North – 6th. tier of English football !
  • If any of our teams has a  story or piece of news they want included in this preview or any part of the website you are welcome to email it to alan@curzonfairplayleaguewalking.football

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NOVEMBER FIXTURES LOOMING LARGE….

The ultimate FPL session of the year takes place on 28th. November as we revert to the final Wednesday of the month once more. Please arrive a little early for a prompt ten thirty am. kick off.
We maintain the  change in layout established in October, and will keep the Pitch numbers from last month. The pitch immediately in front of you as you access the 3g will not be in use and can be taken up for warm ups by late starters the Nash Amblers if they so wish.
The pitches in the distance will be numbers two (top right) and three (top left). Pitch one will be to the right, closest to the main building and dressing rooms.

  • – – – –
    On arrival please bunch in team groups for a quick video i.d. parade stating name, age and date of birth.
  • – – – – –
    Note: Our new ‘statto’ Dave Wenham will be stationed in one of the brand new dug outs with table, white board/s and results book. All Referees should approach David with results and FP point allocation s at the end of each game. There’s ten minutes to do so after all . Teams wishing to have their goalscorer’s recorded must inform David themselves. Thanks.


It’s hoped the Academy linesmen and photographers will stay the course this time. Counting touches and checking for any off the ball runs. Hopefully  they’ll bring their winter coats as it might be a bit inclement out there. We now have adequate shelter though on both sides of the pitches.
On pitch one first of all we have a top of the table clash Nash Bees (top) v. Vintage Celtic (third). Garry Pearce will Referee this one. When the teams met in September the Bees enjoyed a narrow one-nil win.
Other openers see Denton Wednesday take on second placed Burnley Comm WF . Wednesday will welcome striker Rod Seddon into their squad and have had several injuries to contend with. Alan Graham will officiate this one.


On pitch 3 Mark Bradshaw will supervise Bolton Arena v. Tameside Striders. The former the only team with negative fair play points – will they collect some this month? – and the latter, Striders are without injured Peter Dixon. Alan Richards should be available for at least one game it is hoped and Laurie O’Toole is ‘reclaimed’ from his loan deal to Denton Wednesday to strengthen Striders team.

  • – – – – –
    The second round of games sees two ‘derbies’ with Wednesday facing the Nash Amblers as they open their November campaign. After several injuries the squad is now fully fit giving managers Stewart White and John Smith some decisions to make. The last game between these two ended goalless with each team taking a Fair Play point away with them.
    Celtic and Burnley meet on Pitch three , with Bolton Arena resting this one out.
    Arena return to action at 11.30 to face Burnley on Pitch one. They’ll be hoping to augment their good performances on the results front, with a few fair play points this time around.
    Tameside Striders meet the Amblers in the third of their four games. Mark Bradshaw Refereeing this one. Familiarity will breed no contempt in this one as both sets of players will be seeking to play fair and square and gather all three points with NO fair play deductions.


The day on the 3g will close after Celtic play Striders, whose depleted squad might be feeling the pace by then. On pitch one at least they won’t have far to walk to the changing rooms. Celtic have been impressive so far and are clearly enjoying the league. Bees face Amblers in another clash of the Nash and will be looking to avenge last months heavy defeat, when John Smith ran riot with a hat-trick. Wednesday’s fourth game will be a real test as Bolton Arena await them on Pitch three.

After the games why not enjoy a brew in the Nash snack bar. The chip frier will be on the go and there’ll be gravy too I’m told. I’ll be bringing twenty buttered barms for the first twenty purchasers of pomm frites avec / mit gravy. Or sans/unmit gravy, as you please. Three languages murdered there. Let’s hope none of our teams face similar catastrophe on the day.
SHINPADS + PHOTO I.D.which may be required to be shown + £35 per team.
Max. squad of nine.
See you Wednesday. No mean feet.

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We can only hope the October fixtures bring similar enjoyment to that we all seemed to experience last month.

With Burnley Comm.WF not kicking off untill 11-00 am. the first three fixtures throw up intriguing games between the other competing teams.

A clash of the Nash – with Amblers facing Bees, who top the table at the moment.

Vintage Celtic meet Tameside Striders in a re-run of the 2017 People’s Cup group game that ended in a 2-2 draw. The teams have met a couple of times since with Celtic just having the edge.

Denton Wednesday take on the fancied Bolton Arena. Both teams lost fair play points last time out and will be keen not to repeat such a deduction. Mark Bradshaw Referees this one.

Burnley Comm.W.F.kick off with a game against Tameside STriders. These teams last met in February at Turf Moor when Striders romped home in a friendly fixture. The personnel is very different in the FPL and a tighter game is expected on Pitch 2.

Nash Amblers meet regular rivals Vintage Celtic at eleven am. Renewing an acquaintance cemented at Heywood where honours were about even over three seasons in the G.M.W.F.

Other notable games see Bolton Arena face the Nash Amblers on Pitch 2. The arena team have four games this month, finishing with a match v. Vintage Celtic on pitch two at noon.

Three game Amblers meet three game Burnley Comm.WF at mid-day on Pitch One. A re-run of last months game on the same pitch when a Grimbaldeston goal saw the Amblers clinch three valuable match won points.

All players are asked to think carefully, and don’t squander your hard earned successes by losing fair play points. The threshold for awarding Referee’s single FP point award means it will have to an exemplary performance to get one. Worth holding back from a mis-timed or late challenge and restraining yourself when tempted to run. Our Ref’s can spot a runner a mile off most of the time ! If they don’t their assistants might.

Last month we had just the one blue card for three individual runs, but that cost the players team three fair play points.

Turn up in a semi-competitive spirit and we should all have another interesting and enjoyable day. See you Wednesday…

The tournament ‘planner’ used way back in late August 2018 to work out the fixtures for our league could not have come up with a more exciting climax to the F.P.L.
With three teams realistically in with a chance of the overall title they ALL play each other on the final day.

Nash Bees, currently top of the table start late. A ‘clash of the Nash’ with second placed Amblers on Mr.Pearce’s Pitch One at 11-00am.
By then both Bolton Arena and Nash Amblers will have opened their programme as close to 10-30 as we can possibly manage, with both teams ‘away’. Arena to Burnley, and Amblers to bottom place Tameside Striders, who will be looking to improve their ultimate position. Winning is definitely not everything here but nobody wants to finish last if it can be avoided.
While the Nash contingent are facing each other at 1-00am. Bolton Arena will be ‘away’ on Pitch 3 facing Denton Wednesday under the watchful eye of Mark Bradshaw.
At 11.30 Arena will face Nash Bees on pitch two under Mr. Alan Graham , whilst Amblers host Vintage Celtic – in Celtic’s final game of the competition on pitch three.
The final games, which could by now become crucial sees Nash Amblers playing Bolton Arena on Pitch One. Which should be a really interesting duel. Meanwhile the Bees ‘swan song’ comes ‘away’ to Burnley.
Burnley could have a major influence on the destination of the FPL Championship Trophy. They play two of the top three , a test for frontwalkers Nash Bees on pitch three to close both teams campaigns.
Nash Bees need just two more Fair Play points to take the ‘Ken Richards Cup’ for Fair Play and Sportsmanship, so they will want to be on their best behaviour all morning and make sure that none are deducted. It only takes a burst of over exuberance to lose FP points. With an average 0.6 awarded per game compared to a league average of 0.4 per game they look best placed to clinch this award, which I know would mean a lot to their Co-Manager Gordon Nixon, who has borne the brunt of the Bees campaign on his shoulders. This month Colin Fielding is back to assist.
Blue or even red cards for any of the top three teams could open the door up to those lower down the league to zoom in and clinch a trophy. As we have only had two blue card, and NO red throughout the entire competition we must hope this doesn’t happen.
Whether one team takes two trophies, or there is a wider spread of rewards there will be a maximum of nine medals avaialable to the Championship winners. A permanent memento of what has been a unique experiment in the world of British walking football.
At the other end of the table the two bottom teams Denton Wednesday and Tameside Strider will be hoping they can each avoid ignominy – such as it is – of holding everyone else up.
We hope all participants have enjoyed the competition, which of course might have flaws but the overall message “WINNING IS NOT EVERYTHING” has hopefully been reinforced over the last eight months.
Alan Richards
Curzon Wednesday Walking Football Fair Play League.