Welwyn Garden City grandad takes on ex-professional football players
A 75-year-old grandad from Welwyn Garden City got in goal to take on ex-professional football players for charity.
Roy Talbot, 75, of Parkway, was the oldest player on the pitch by about 30 years but said it was the best game he’s ever played.
The match was organised by Football Aid, who give fans the chance to experience the thrill of match day.
It was held at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.
Football Aid allows fans the chance to play an adrenaline-fuelled 90 minutes on the hallowed turf of the club they support.
To take part in a match, football lovers bid on positions and if they win they get to play in a game.
Roy bid £200 to play as goalie for the England vs Republic of Ireland game and was crowned Captain.
His grandson Alex Gilmore, 11, who attends Monk’s Walk School, was picked as a match mascot, making it a family affair as he proudly accompanied his grandad onto the pitch.
The final score was England eight and Rep of Ireland seven.
At an awards ceremony afterwards, Roy was given the Captain’s winning trophy from Gary Bennett, former professional footballer for Cardiff, Sunderland and others.
Roy’s son-in-law Duncan Shaw also played on the pitch with him as mid-fielder for England.
The dad-of-two and grandfather-of-three is keen to encourage others his age and older to take on some kind of exercise.
He said: “Besides the enjoyment and health benefits of keeping fit, age does not have to be a barrier to competing in sporting activities.”
Roy has enjoyed sports all his life and since retiring from his company Living Designs and passing it down to his daughters, Kate and Hannah, he regular cycles and plays squash.
After never having suffered a sports-related injury his whole life, Roy broke his finger making a save five minutes from full time but carried on playing until the end.
He said: “It was a memorable end to my goalkeeping career, particularly as it was shared with my grandson and son-in-law.”
Since 2001 Football Aid has donated £2.23M in charitable grants and 674 games involving over 17,800 players have taken place.