In recent months, the Chelmsford City Walking Football Club has seen a second player become an international captain for their country.
With former Clarets first-team player Spencer Pratten already in the ranks, the Club’s number of England captains was recently doubled through Colin Haydon.
Having been with CCWFC for three years, the 68-year-old player captained the Three Lions’ over-65s in two games following trials with over 100 walking footballers.
Haydon explained: “Basically, what happened was that once selected for these trials, we had a game against South West England Walking Football team and just before the game, the manager came over and I got that sudden feeling, ‘I wonder what he’s going to say here. Is he going to say that I’m a substitute or something like that?’
“He said, ‘Colin, I’d like you to be the captain today for the England Walking Football Over-65s and if all is successful, I would like you to then captain the side for the first international, against Guernsey.’
“So, obviously, it’s one of those things where your heart’s pelting and it was incredible. Just to think, all the players that he possibly could have chosen, he’s chosen me.
“You not only lead the team out but you’re then on the pitch singing the national anthem, which is something that I’ve never done before representing England – so what a great honour that is.
“It was wonderful, honest. It was a great feeling.”
Having had the armband for the game against South West England, that was then closely followed by the first international fixture.
The side travelled to Guernsey and in the game of two 25-minute halves, England Over-65s managed to bag a convincing 4-1 victory.
An early goal for the Three Lions was cancelled out by an equaliser midway through the first 25, although a goal shortly before the half-time break restored the lead.
That would be followed by two second-half goals and the win on the Channel Island was sealed.
“I was one of the fortunate ones that stayed on the pitch for the full game and, obviously, it was a very proud moment at the end,” Colin said.
“Not only had I played my first England game in an international, but obviously led the team to a win as well – which was a great honour.”
Having played the game at non-league level during his younger days, Haydon spent a long time playing football until he called it a day at the age of 63.
Two years on from then and with retirement from work looming, Colin stumbled across the Clarets’ Walking Football Club.
He said: “I was looking through my local paper and I saw an advert for Chelmsford City Walking Football.
“I thought, ‘No, I can’t do that. It’s against our religion as footballers to start playing a game where you’re walking,’ but I found out when the training sessions were and I went over there to see what was happening.
“Lo and behold, I went over there and watched for about 15 minutes, then thought I’d give it a go and the rest is history. Basically, that was about three years ago and it was fantastic, I haven’t looked back!”
With the Clarets in his veins, having had his son, Nicky Haydon, enjoy a short spell with City, Colin is loving his time with the Walking Football Club.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and the players over at Chelmsford make you feel very welcome, which was great because I was a newbie at the time.
“In our first season, we won the over-60s league, which was an honour. Then, I represented the Essex side for the league and I look back and think, ‘Yeah, it all started at Chelmsford City.’
“I’ve not played for any other walking football club because I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.”
For further information on getting involved with the Walking Football Club, contact Chris Jullings on 07850725691 or visit their website.