Anyone who has seen our senior women’s team in action down at Butt Field will probably have noticed a tall, curly-haired player in the heart of the defence; Marie-Claire Page, better known to most as M-C. Like many footballing mums, M-C took a break from 11-a-side football when she had very young children but returned to the full-sized game when she joined Matt Lawson’s team at BTFC a few years ago. The family connection to our club probably helped her choice, as her daughter Mia played for us too from a young age and her partner Rick managed that team for several years.
While M-C has no plans to retire from playing regular football just yet, she has been thinking about her footballing options for that time which comes to us all when the legs aren’t quite what they once were. This took her over to a walking football session in Keyworth last year to see what it was like. For the uninitiated, walking football is a small-sided version of the game where “just like it says on the tin” players are not allowed to run or jog.
After taking to it very well indeed, M-C was encouraged to attend the International Walking Football Federation (IWFF) England team trials in February this year, and was subsequently selected for the England females ‘over 40s’ squad. The IWFF England squads range from over 40s to over 60s for women, and over 50s to over 70s for men. They all train once a month in Lincoln.
This summer the IWFF European Championships were held in Marseille. So in June, together with the various squads and the whole family, M-C flew down to the south of France for the tournament. It was held at the Stade Delort, right next to the impressive Stade Velodrome, home of Olympique de Marseille.
England were undefeated in the group stage conceding only 1 goal, and as group runners-up were faced with current world champions Sweden in the semi-final. Having already beaten Sweden 3-1 in the group stage, they knew the Swedes would be out for revenge. A tense game ended 1-1 after extra time, so penalties decided it was England who would go through to face the hosts in the final.
The France team was defeated 2-0 in the final, making England (complete with one of our BTFC own) the European Champions. Huge congratulations to M-C and the rest of the team, it is a great achievement and bodes well for her future playing career – though she’s intending to be with us for a while longer of course!
Though we can’t currently offer walking football at the club, we do have some Just Play sessions on Mondays for any women who want to return to playing after a break or just give football a try. To find out more visit our webpage here https://binghamtownfc.com/just-play-for-women/