GMWF League 2020 Preview
The Greater Manchester Walking Football League is now in it’s fourth year and is going from strength to strength, with forty four teams involved in 2019. In this GMWF League 2020 Preview we will look at our current progress and see what 2020 holds in store.
In 2018 we had three divisions of five teams in the 60s league. This became four divisions, three of five teams and one of six teams in 2019.
Chorley FC Yellows and Northgate Strollers have both withdrawn from the 60s league, unable to field teams. Carlise Utd, playing as Carlisle SOA (Son’s Of Arthritis) have joined the 60s league. So we now revert to four divisions of five teams in the 60s league. A big welcome to Carlisle SOA, who have a round trip of two hundred and forty miles!
In another name change apparently due to the recent European ban for breaching Financial Fair Play Regulations, club licencing and sponsorship deals, Man City are now renamed Manchester Senior Citizens.
Manchester Corinthians Reds are promoted to Division 1, while Chorley FC Magpies (now renamed Purple Panthers WFC), are relegated to Division 2. Promoted to Division 2 are Manchester Corinthians Whites. AFC Blackpool Senior Seasiders (now renamed Blackpool FC Senior Seasiders) retain their Division 2 status due to Northgate Strollers withdrawing. Promoted to Division 3 are Salcom and Roach Dynamos stay in that division, again through the Northgate Strollers withdrawal.
Former champions Rochdale AFC Strollers and also Tameside Striders have withdrawn from the 65s league due to lack of players in this age category. The following message was received from the Striders organiser Alan Richards, “We wish all our old opponents good luck going forward in to subsequent leagues at Heywood in the GMWFL. We have had a significant change in outlook and commitment from some of our players in the 65+ categorisation, and further involvement is no longer viable.”
The two divisions of five teams in the 65s league was increased to three divisions of five teams in 2019 and in the 2020 Spring season will reduce to fourteen teams. Five in Divisions 1 and 2, four in Divisions 3. New team Maccabi MOC (More Old Codgers) have entered the 65s in Division 3.
Promoted to Division 1 are Manchester Corinthians and with Rochdale AFC Strollers and Tameside Striders withdrawing, no team is relegated to Division 2. This means that Preston North End Senior Whites are also promoted to Division 1.
Blackpool FC Senior Seasiders retain their Division 2 status due to teams withdrawing and Fleetwood Town Flyers join them after being promoted from Division 3. Moston Brook FC also move up to Division 2.
Tameside Striders are relegated to Division 2, with Blackpool FC Senior Seasiders promoted to Division 1. The 70s league remains two divisions of four teams. Complaints have been noted that teams only play three games, a total of forty five minutes football. We have looked at the possibility of a 70s league of eight teams but unfortunately it isn’t viable due to the pitch allocations and the time slots available. Hopefully this will be rectified in the Autumn league with more 70s teams joining. In the meantime games will be ten minutes each way giving the 70s teams an hours football.
We are holding our first over 70s Invitation Cup Tournament in July 2020 and it’s entirely possible that more teams will be encouraged to join our 70s league. In a year or so we will no doubt start with an over 75s Cup Tournament and hopefully this will lead to an over 75s league in the near future.
We also have the annual Martin Dawson Trophy in September. This has always proved to be a popular tournament.
We have had a sad start to 2020. Ron Blakely suffered a dislocated and fractured shoulder in a Manchester Corinthians training session, also tearing shoulder ligaments. Unfortunately this means no more walking football for Ron, who was one of the best keepers in walking football. Ron also shattered his kneecap in a recent fall, it’s been a disastrous start in 2020 for Ron.
David Seel of Bury Relics passed away in January this year and David Dean of Moston Brook FC suffered a cardiac arrest at one of their training sessions. Fortunately a defibrillator was available and the attending paramedics saved his life. Just to reassure all players, we do have a defibrillator at the Heywood Sports Village, let’s hope we never need to use it and don’t have any more bad news for the rest of 2020.
Finally, we have introduced a few rule changes to hopefully reduce the incidents of physical contact. These were voted on by all teams and league officials who attended the GMWFL AGM on 18th February. The amended Rules and Minutes Of The Meeting will be sent to all teams shortly.
The full Calendar of events for 2020 is on the website Home page. I am sure everyone is looking forward to it, so let’s make it a great Spring 2020 season.