The Walking Football Northern Premier League are pleased to announce that we are now members of the Walking Football Leagues Alliance. The Alliance provides a great opportunity to learn from and, if needed, to assist our fellow leagues up and down the country.
Farrah Rose Memorial Trophy
Sunday 12th September 2021 saw 23 teams from all over the North of England and the Midlands assemble at Goals Leeds for the fifth staging of the annual Farrah Rose Memorial Trophy charity competition. Now organised by the WF Northern Premier League Organiser Eddie Gibson, the competition is in memory of Farrah Rose French, the granddaughter of Grangetown WFC player and manager Rob Scott, who in 2016 went to bed at her grandmother’s house for her usual afternoon nap and tragically never woke up. Despite attempts at resuscitation she was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital – she was just 18 months old.
In the first round, the 23 teams were divided into three groups of six and one of five with the winners and runners-up of each progressing to the knock out stage. Peterlee Helford, Droylsden Town, holders Grangetown, Leeds Titans, Leggy Mambos, Rothwell Old Boars, Sleaford Invictus and Norwich City all went through with Mambos and Norwich eventually meeting in the final.
It was the East Anglian side’s second successive appearance in the final and were looking to avenge their 1-2 loss to Mambos in the group stage. But, once Paul Walton had put the reigning NPL Champions into the lead, that proved to be the only goal of the game. Wally, in fact, had scored in every game in the tournament and finished as the leading scorer with 13 goals. Paul Norris, having scored in all of Leeds Titans’ games, was a close second with 11 but his team couldn’t get past Norwich in the semis.
There were 141 goals scored in the tournament with Wally and Nozzer twice each, Craig McConnell (Middleton Rangers), Andy Clarke (Bolton Arena), John Mullender (Peterlee Helford), Mark Brady (Morley) and Bob Sapey (Norwich City) all bagging hat-tricks.
In August, members of Grangetown WFC, who also sponsored Farrah Rose 2021, undertook a challenging sponsored walk over hills and through woodlands in the North York Moors from Roseberry Topping to Captain Cook’s Monument. They raised a substantial amount for their supported charities: Eston Fellowship which supports local handicapped people and their families, Daisy Chain Project which helps families affected by autism, First Contact Teesside which supports people with mental health issues, FROG for the Future Regeneration of Grangetown and Streetz Project which identifies and protects young people in danger of sexual and criminal exploitation.
The Farrah Rose 2021 tournament also raised £302 so thanks go to all those who provided prizes, bought raffle tickets and made individual cash donations. This sum will be forwarded to Grangetown WFC to send to these charities.
Previous Farrah Rose finals:
2016 Leeds Titans 2 Peterlee Helford 1 at the Herlingshaw Centre, Middlesbrough
2017 Sheffield Vulcan 2 Leeds Titans A 0 at Goals Leeds
2018 Leeds Titans A beat Sheffield United on penalties after a 1-1 draw at FA St George’s Park Graves Centre, Sheffield
2019 Grangetown 2 Norwich City 1 at Goals Leeds
2020 No competition
Northern Premier League Returns August 2021
Once the Covid restrictions were eased, the WF Northern Premier League was finally able to resume at Goals Leeds at the beginning of August but with a condensed fixtures schedule in which teams in each division played each other once in ten minute games all on the same day.
First up was the 50+ Section on the 8th, though with just seven teams in the First Division following Sleaford’s withdrawal. Perhaps not surprisingly, Leggy Mambos again retained their league title finishing two points ahead of Leeds Titans with Neil Evans as the leading league goalscorer, netting eight of Mambos’ nine goals. They didn’t concede any either.
The runners up spot was closely contested with three teams finishing with equal points but Titans had a better goal difference than Peterlee Helford and Club Kingsmaid.
Tony Jones and his Blackburn Rovers team must be commended for their commitment to the league having played the entire tournament with only the minimum six players and just one of those was under 60!
The Second Division was also hit with a withdrawal but Darlington based Middleton Rangers, who had been on the waiting list, were able to take over from Harrogate Town as temporary NPL members.
The day’s top goalscorers, Morley were champions and will replace relegated Sleaford in next year’s First Division. They will also be joined by Nomads (from sort of South Lincolnshire/Cambridgeshire) following the resignation of Seaton Carew after the tournament. And, because of that, Middleton Rangers were confirmed as full members.
Two weeks later it was the turn of the old boys, the 60+ teams and the First Division title race couldn’t have been much closer. Wakefield Wanderers and Club Kingsmaid were neck and neck at the top with neither having conceded a goal when the two met in their final game. With a goal difference of two more than the Manchester team, Wakefield’s game management earned them a 0-0 draw and the league championship – just!
Leeds Titans only scored three goals on the day but, not having let any in either, they were enough to earn them the Second Division title with their three 1-0 wins including an historic result against Leggy Mambos. They will be swapping places with Manchester Corinthians in next year’s First Division.
Titans captain, Irish international Dermot Hurley also had a unique achievement. Having won the 50+ Second Division with Morley, he is the only player in the NPL to have won championship medals in both Age Sections.
Leggy Mambos captain Ian Swallow receives the NPL Champions trophy from Philip Solity, one of the tournament referees, after his team had again retained their league title (photograph courtesy of Mark Fielden).
Though not strictly an NPL competition, our next event at Goals Leeds will be the Farrah Rose 2021 50+ tournament on 12th September featuring 23 teams from all over the North of England and the Midlands, including several from outside the league. Then in October it’s the two NPL knock out competitions which this year will run as one-day tournaments – the Yorkshire Cup for 50+ teams on the 3rd and the new Cowan Cup for 60+ teams on the 10th with the trophy being named in honour of our sadly missed friend Tom Cowan.
In view of the recent directive from the Football Association regarding the Coronavirus and grassroots football, regretfully I have now cancelled all games in both the Walking Football Northern Premier League in its current format, including the 50+ Yorkshire Cup, and the Farrah Rose 2020 tournament for this year. Nor will I be available to referee in the IWFF Euros in July if they were to take place.
If the situation were to improve by the Autumn I may re-instate the NPL in a reduced format to be played in September and October but it is highly unlikely that the Inter-League Championships in December will be held.
Hopefully, everything might be back to normal next year. Stay safe, everybody.
Regards, Eddie Gibson, Organiser, WF Northern Premier League and Farrah Rose Memorial Trophy
Northern Premier 60s League Cancelled 15th March.
Thank you for all your responses and, as more teams and some referees have now dropped out this morning, tomorrow’s games are now OFFICIALLY CANCELLED. I have just telephoned the Goals centre with confirmation.
The are a number of teams who were still willing to come but, no matter how disappointing it is, there are bigger issues at hand.
We all represent the “at risk” group and with the likelihood around 150 players in their sixties congregating in a relatively small area tomorrow we would all be endangering not only our own health but also that of our colleagues and anybody else at the centre at the same time.
Please make sure that all your players are aware of this cancellation and that they are not to travel to Leeds.
The same could happen to the April games for both age groups but I will make final decisions a bit nearer the time and will continue to monitor the situation throughout the year.
Regarding the match fees already paid, Goals are holding the money on account until next time.
Would all teams and referees please acknowledge receipt of this cancellation notice.
Farrah Rose Memorial Trophy
I now have the honour of organising the Farrah Rose Memorial Trophy each year and I cordially invite your team to take part in this year’s tournament.
For those who don’t know about the circumstances surrounding Farrah Rose, the grand-daughter of Grangetown WFC player/manager Rob Scott, it is a tragic story. Farrah Rose French was a happy and healthy little girl from Grangetown in Middlesbrough. She had an older sister and mother Megan was expecting her third child but tragedy struck the family in February 2016. The two little girls had been visiting their grandmother Margaret and went to bed for their normal afternoon nap. Farrah Rose had been a little bit poorly the day before but when Margaret went to check on her she could see that the child wasn’t breathing. An ambulance was called and Margaret tried to resuscitate her but Farrah Rose was pronounced dead by doctors shortly after arriving at hospital – she was just 18 months old.
This year’s tournament in Farrah Rose’s memory, which will also be raising funds for a number of charities, will be 6-a-side for players over 50 years of age and played at Goals Leeds on Sunday 21 June. We will be using the Football Association Laws of the Game for Walking Football (issued June 2019) with adjustments pertinent to this competition. 24 teams from all over England and Wales took part in 2019 and I’m hoping for at least that many this year.
I should be grateful if you would indicate your interest in taking part as soon as possible. The number of entrants will be governed by the number of referees available so entries will be accepted on a first come first served basis. This will also determine the cost of the entry fee.
Do you know any other team who may be interested? Please feel free to share this invitation.
Eddie Gibson, Organiser, WF Northern Premier League and Farrah Rose Memorial Trophy
Happy New Year to everybody and as we look forward to a new NPL season there are a few changes in the league to tell you about.
Last year’s 50+ Second Division Champions Chesterton Crusaders have withdrawn from the league but who will take up their place in the First Division has yet to be decided. Normally, the bottom club, Sheffield, wouldn’t have been relegated but they have withdrawn from the 50+ section to concentrate only on their 60+ team. Second Division runners-up Wakefield Wanderers have also done the same so they can’t be promoted either.
On the other hand, two clubs in the 60+ section will be fielding their 50+ teams in the NPL as well, and both will be playing under new names. Following a merger, Sleaford Academicals are now Sleaford & Ruston Academicals and Manchester Community are now, more appropriately, Salford Community. Established club Barons Scarborough are new entrants into both the 50+ and 60+ sections and the 50+ is completed by a brand new team, Nomads who come from the Stamford, Wisbech, Peterborough area and will be replacing Middlesbrough FFIT.
The 60+ section has been re-formed into two divisions of eight teams each with newcomers Stocksbridge replacing the Manchester Corinthians B team in the new Second Division but there is a vacancy yet to be filled following the withdrawal of Burton Albion.
Organiser, WF Northern Premier League
Do you run a 60+ Walking Football team in the North of England or the North Midlands and want to play in one of the country’s major WF regional leagues? You do? Then please read on ….
A vacancy has arisen in the 60+ Second Division of the WF Northern Premier League and we are looking for an ambitious club to join us for the 2020 season. That club must uphold the ethos of walking football and sportsmanship and have a firm commitment to the League – if that’s your club then please email to the Organiser, Eddie Gibson firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
All NPL games are played on the enclosed 5-a-side pitches at Goals Leeds on Sunday afternoons. The planned dates are 15th March, 5th April, 14th June and 19th July. You’ll be glad that you joined.
The 2019 Walking Football Northern Premier League season comes to a close in early December when the top four teams in both the 50+ and 60+ Sections play in the Inter-League Championship at Goals Leicester.
The Inter-League was inaugurated in 2018 as a 50+ challenge between the NPL and Terry Rice’s TRA National League South and is a Ryder Cup style competition in which teams earn points for their respective leagues rather than just for themselves. The league whose teams have gained the most points are the overall winners.
This year sees the introduction of the 60+ tournament as well as the two leagues being joined in the 50+ by our friends from the Wales Walking Football Premier League.
On Sunday 1st December the NPL will be represented in the 50+ by reigning champions Leggy Mambos, Manchester City, Yorkshire Cup and Farrah Rose winners Grangetown, and Blackburn Rovers to try and retain the Rice Gibson Cup. Representing the TRA will be their champions Colchester Phoenix, Romford White, Norwich City and Bexley. For Wales will be their champions Llandarcy Swansea, Blues Brothers, Neath Dragons and Welsh National Cup holders Amlwch Town.
A week later, 8th December, teams will be playing for the new Sixties Cup. All season in the NPL 60+ two teams had dominated proceedings with Grimsby Corinthians eventually claiming the inaugural league title by just one point from Redcar Strollers. Joining them for the NPL in Leicester will be Sheffield and the WFA 60+ National Champions Blackburn Rovers. For the TRA will be Norwich City (champions), Bexley, Watford and Cheshunt (to be confirmed). Kick off time will be 2pm on both dates.
The planned dates for the 2020 NPL season are:
Sunday 15th March 2020: NPL 60+ Round 1
Sunday 5th April 2020: NPL 60+ Round 2
Sunday 26th April 2020: NPL 50+ Round 1
Sunday 17th May 2020: NPL 50+ Round 2
Sunday 7th June 2020: NPL 50+ Round 3
Sunday 14th June 2020: NPL 60+ Round 3
Sunday 19th July 2020: NPL 60+ Round 4
Sunday 6th September 2020: NPL 50+ Round 4
Sunday 4th October 2020: NPL 50+ Round 5
Sunday 25th October 2020: NPL 50+ Cup Final Day
All NPL games are played at Goals Leeds starting at 1pm as will be the Farrah Rose Memorial tournament (50+) which is planned for Sunday 21st June.
Whilst there are some member clubs still to confirm their NPL membership for 2020 there will definitely be a vacancy in the 60+ Section. If your club wish to apply for that vacancy or to be added to the waiting list for either age group then please contact the Organiser Eddie Gibson email email@example.com
With 24 teams competing in Farrah Rose 2019 the tournament has now become a significant event in the North of England. More details about Farrah Rose 2020 will be announced when invitations are sent out early in the new year. If your team are interested in taking part in Farrah Rose 2020 then please contact the Event Co-ordinator Eddie Gibson email firstname.lastname@example.org