Around eight years ago, Lo Crispin Resident Mike Cooper, AKA Cooperman, set up the Lo Crispin Mens Walking Football Team. Although Mike is the only original member of that first team – because people move away, become less mobile and can’t play any longer – it’s still going strong. The only problem is, they could do with more WAGs (wives and girlfriends) to cheer them on. As Mike says:
‘With the age and physical state of some of our players, they need all the encouragement they can get. If we could rustle up more spectators they’d have someone to impress and they might try a bit harder!’
If you think that sounds a bit harsh, you don’t know Cooperman, or the team. Some walking football teams are very competitive – after all, it’s a bunch of men in their 50s and above trying to prove that both the spirit and the flesh is still willing, so to speak. For the Lo Crispin lads though, it’s all for fun while getting some exercise and having a better social life. After match analysis takes place back at Lo Crispin Tavern, and it goes on a lot longer than the game, accompanied by a few pints to rehydrate after all that exertion.
Each of the team members gets a nickname, and Cooperman does weekly match reports, which are usually hilarious. It’s worth following the Facebook page just to read those. Here’s an excerpt from a recent report:
The game started with Roy ‘Mr Magoo’ Kavanagh officiating for the first quarter but after telling the goalpost he would be sent off for arguing it was decided to relieve Roy of his duties and Russell St Moritz took over with his one good eye and reffed the rest of the game … Please if anyone sees Roy ‘Mr Magoo’ Kavanagh around the Habaneras area he will be looking for SpecSavers. Last time he looked for them he was seen wandering around the Womens Secret store thinking it was SpecSavers and got himself chucked out.
There might be a lot of laughs on offer at the walking football sessions, but there’s a serious side to it as well. During the year, they have various social and fundraising events: an annual barbecue, Christmas dinner, tapas nights – all held locally to keep the money in Algorfa. They also pay subs of €2 a week, and since the Mayor of Algorfa allows them to use the pitch in the sports stadium for free, they are able to sponsor kit for the local junior footballers in Algorfa.
I’ve mentioned before that there’s great integration in Algorfa, with all nationalities getting together to enjoy themselves, and the walking football team plays against Algorfa each year for the Marvellous Malcolm Trophy. This is awarded in the memory of late team member Malcolm Gray, whose wife presents the trophy to the winners.
At the moment, the Algorfa team have it, and Cooperman and the lads want it back when they play again, probably in October. The thing is, the Algorfa young guns are a bit flexible with the rules – bringing in players from the local football team on the pretext that they can’t get enough volunteers without them. And they have a bit of a problem with the definition of ‘walking’ which can’t really be put down to the language barrier! Obviously the Marvellous Malcolm Trophy is going to be closely contested, after a break because of Covid restrictions.
Lo Crispin Mens Walking Football team can even call themselves award winners, although it owes nothing to their playing skills. Back in 2017, they received an award for services to sport in Algorfa from the Town Hall. It has pride of place at the Tavern, although many of the local residents still find it hard to think of the lads as award winners in any form!
If you’d like to join the Lo Crispin Mens Walking Football team for some fun and exercise, and you’re 55 or over, message the Facebook page or ask at Lo Crispin Tavern. The team welcomes holidaymakers as well, and they will stretch it a bit to allow younger players, as long as they remember it’s walking football and they don’t show the regulars up too much!
Along with Formentera, Lo Crispin was one of the first walking football teams in the local area, and they are still going strong, with up to 20 players turning up every week for their two sessions. They also play friendlies with other teams. Play times are:
Mondays 4.00 pm
Thursdays 10.30 am
If you decide to join the lads, you can be sure of a great welcome and lots of fun, but remember, you will land a nickname, and you’ll also be sent up something rotten in the match reports. If you think you can handle all that, get in touch with Cooperman soon – and remember to bring your own WAG!