Still playing at 80 - but is Crystal Palace fan Bob the oldest football player in Sussex?

One of the oldest footballers in Sussex has been awarded life membership of his club.

Monday, 28th December 2020, 1:06 pm
Updated Monday, 28th December 2020, 1:10 pm
Bob in action

Bob Claridge, who was 80 on December 23, has been made an honorary life member of Hastings 1066 Walking Football Club.

Bob - known to his teammates as Granite Bob - turns out three times a week in all weathers to play in the multi use games area in Alexandra Park, alhough Covid lockdown rules have put it on hold at present.

Bob is well-known for having run dozens of half marathons over the years.

Bob Claridge is made an honorary life member of Hastings 1066 Walking Football Club

A lifelong Crystal Palace fan, Bob walks from his home in Silverhill to the Cage of Dreams, but allows pal Paul Hutton to give him a lift home.

“It’s always tougher going uphill after playing for 90 minutes,” said Bob, who his team believe may be the oldest active player in Sussex.

Club chairman Phil Aspinall added: “There are not many 80 year olds playing competitive sport like this three times a week. Bob is a legend and long may he play the beautiful game with us.”

In ‘normal’ times , the players train in the cage Monday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings.

Before the tougher lockdown halted play, all players were temperature tested before sessions and there was a strict policy on wearing single use coloured bibs with a one-way system in operation to enter and leave the area.

“Covid has hit us hard like all grass roots sports but we are proud with what we have achieved.New players are always welcome providing they are over 50 for men and over 40 for women,” added the chairman.

Register at www.hastings walkingfootball.co.uk