Canadian Team Takes on Grimsby’s Ancient Mariners

The Vancouver Classics take the lead with a goal from the penalty spot.

GRIMSBY’S walking footballers were recently in action at Bradley Football Development Centre against a team of footballers visiting from Canada.

The Vancouver Classics over 60s football team are currently touring England where they will take on teams from Boston, Crystal Palace, Chester and Brighton with one or two sightseeing stops on the way!

Grimsby was the Classics first stop of the tour and the team competed in an 11 aside round-robin tournament against two Grimsby Ancient Mariners Walking Football Club teams. The tournament was played at a good pace and produced some wonderful football, with the Canadian’s ultimately coming out as champions.

Whilst in Grimsby the Vancouver Classics were treated to an afternoon at Blundell Park courtesy of Grimsby Town Football Club and accompanied by the Grimsby Ancient Mariners Walking Football Club, where they witnessed the Mariners beat Crewe Alexandra 1-0. They were also shown around Grimsby Town Hall by the Mayor of North East Lincolnshire and discovered more about the area’s history and heritage at Grimsby’s Time Trap Museum. 

Action from the clash between Grimsby Ancient Mariners and the Vancouver Classics at Bradley Football Development Centre.

Peter Cribb, Secretary for Grimsby Ancient Mariners Walking Football Club, said: “The whole weekend has been brilliant… Everybody participated well; it was played in the right spirit. Lots of people were involved and it really epitomised, not only what we do, but what Lincs Inspire do, because it’s a partnership between the two and without them we wouldn’t have a session and without us they wouldn’t have a session. It is an active partnership and we just want to develop it as far as it can go.”

Peter was full of praise for the visitors from Vancouver, he said: “They’re such a lovely, friendly group of people. They fully appreciated what we’ve done for them.”

Grimsby Ancient Mariner's on the attack against the Vancouver Classics on Bradley Football Development Centre's premier championship pitch. 

Mike Walls, who organised the trip for the Canadian side, explained how the tour to the UK came about. He said: “I felt that it would be nice if we could find teams that are still playing at our age, over 60, in England.”

The trip to Grimsby has been one that Mike and the team have enjoyed, Mike explained: “It’s been absolutely tremendous. They’ve treated us so well here in Grimsby, it’s been tremendous. We had an audience with the Mayor yesterday; we went to the Grimsby game on Saturday.”

Mike added: “We really enjoyed that, it was very hospitable and I think Grimsby have done more than enough, we’ve just been blown away!”

The Vancouver Classics first visit to Grimsby was a triumphant one too, with the Canadian club coming out on top after winning both of their games, something that Mike didn’t expect. He explained: “We didn’t expect to win any of them; we figured that their skill would overcome our stamina. We got a little fortunate in the first game today, they were a strong team.”

He added: “We just wanted all the games to be somewhat close, we didn’t care if we won or lost and they’ve been really great.” Mike and his fellow Canadians plan to ‘make some friends, swap a few emails and keep in touch’ with their new fellow footballing friends from across the pond.

Vancouver Classics grab another with a fantastic free kick from outside of the box. 

Paul Goodhand, Sport Facility Officer at Lincs Inspire was instrumental in setting up the Canadian visit. When asked how it all came about Paul explained: “About a year ago I came into work and had an email from Mike in Canada saying that he’s looking to organise a trip to England and a tour of playing a bit of football for over 60s. He’d seen that Lincs Inspire had established a Walking Football group and we’ve been working together, on pretty much a weekly basis, putting plans in place.”

Paul added: “It’s fantastic to think that after six years of starting Walking Football we’ve got a group of Canadians coming over to take part. The games were played in the right spirit and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves. There were some fantastic goals scored and some really good play.”

 The Vancouver Classics captain was presented with the winner's trophy by the Chief Executive of Lincs Inspire, Sue Wells.

If you would like to find out more about Lincs Inspire’s Over 55s Walking Football sessions at Bradley Football Development Centre please call (01472) 325300 or email: paul.goodhand@lincsinspire.com. The video below should give you a good feel as to what the sessions are all about.