Real Betis WF in Seville and 48 hours later Leyton Orient FC at the Colina Verde Golf & Sports Resort, Maragota near Moncarapacho, was the hectic schedule for members of East Algarve Walking Football last weekend.
The Spanish La Liga club introduced the sport, aimed at those 50 years plus, some six months ago and recently visited Tavira for a mini-tournament before welcoming two Algarve teams to the Andalusian capital. An evening tournament in sweltering heat tested the resolve of all players but the experience of the Portuguese teams proved decisive. Mark Cruddace, Martin Gershon, Andy Smith, Adrian Jones, John Walduck, Paul Burn and Charlie Cousins were among the goalscorers for EAWF Tavira and EAWF Olhão as they finished top of their groups.
English Football League outfit Leyton Orient have been using the well-appointed Colina Verde Golf & Sports Resort, Maragota as part of their pre-season preparations. London’s second oldest professional football club announced that Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane, for the third year running, would personally be sponsoring the home and away kits for the club that gave him his big first team chance. Kane has paid to put the logo of mental health support organisation Shout, the UK’s only free confidential 24/7 text support service for mental health, on the front of the Club’s red home kits for the 2022-23 season.
Leyton Orient, along with many other clubs, has a rich history for charitable support as well as being a pivotable centres within their local community. At the outbreak of the First World War forty-one members of the Clapton Orient, they became Leyton Orient after WW2, team and staff joined the 17th Battalion Middlesex Regiment (the Footballers’ Battalion), the highest of any football team in the country and the first to join up en masse. Just over a 100 years ago history was made, when on the April 30, 1921 the Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VIII, visited Clapton Stadium to see the O’s play Notts County. The Orient won 3–0 and this was the first time a member of royalty had attended a Football League match. With the new season fast approaching the Orient squad, under the watchful eye of manager Richie Wellens, played a behind-closed-doors game against Championship outfit West Bromwich Albion on Monday with the Albion winning 2-1. The O’s play Peterborough United tomorrow (July 8) at the Estádio Municipal de Lagos, Tapada de São João, 8600 Lagos; scheduled kick-off 11.00am.
Last Sunday the Orient management team, led by manager and former Leicester City stalwart Richie Wellens, played EAWF at Colina Verde and edged a close encounter 5-4. The O’s found it difficult to contain their enthusiasm and were constantly penalised for running but it was a different matter when a short game of normal football followed. The ‘younger’ members of EAWF and EAFC showed their mettle with an extremely creditable 3-3 draw. Lifelong Orient supporter Colin Corrigan, instrumental in arranging the event, was full of praise for the sportsmanship and camaraderie.
Colin said: “I’ve enjoyed my sessions of walking football when visiting the Algarve so it was good to be able to bring the two groups together.” The Leyton Orient website stated: “We would like to place on record our thanks to the members of the East Algarve Walking Football side for a wonderful afternoon”.
By CHRIS WRIGHT