A GROUP of Wee County golden oldies flew to the Algarve in search of footballing dominance and returned with renewed friendship. 

Tullibody Community FC took two teams to Portugal for a walking football tournament, which lasted four days from Wednesday, October 4 to Sunday, October 8.

Davy Reynolds, the walking football coordinator, told the Advertiser about what was a once in a lifetime experience for the men aged between 55 and 74.

“It was a great facility on grass pitches,” he said. “It was quite physical and it was quite demanding but the guys played fantastically. 

“All the guys had a fantastic time. [There was] quite a lot of drinking at night and all the rest of it so there was a big social side.”

As well as frequenting the town’s restaurants and bars, the group was made to work up a sweat on the training pitch.

Taking advantage of the first class facilities, Davy led the players through a series of drills working on tactics and shape and admitted it might be something he incorporates into the sessions in Clackmannanshire. 

“I think now I’m going to start half an hour early on a Friday and do some drills,” he joked. “They all really enjoyed it because they want to push on and get better. 

“By the Saturday they were playing some really great stuff. Personally I was apprehensive because they were playing some great teams but they coped brilliantly. 

“We all travelled in track suits and a sports top. A few teams actually commented saying we must be loaded but we just put the effort in.”

The Reds put in a series of performances that led them to finish second out of the Scottish teams, while the Blues put in a similarly strong effort.

A number of the players that travelled have conditions, such as heart problems or plastic hips, which meant that at one stage they never thought they could play football again. 

And Davy admitted it was difficult to sum up what it meant to see some of these men get back on to the pitch and play in a setting, which they never thought they would experience. 

He said: “I don’t know if I really have the words. At the end when we were having a drink they were standing up and making speeches. 

“Three years ago they were sitting in the house not doing anything else and now they’re travelling with a football team playing against European opposition. 

“We even bumped into a few people who were asking why we were there and we said with a football team and they asked, “At your age?!” We’ve been waiting 14 months for it and that’s it gone in an instant.”