As managers of the Wales Walking Football National Teams (over 50’s and over 60’s), we are delighted to welcome our colleagues in the Walking Football community to our website.
Hedley Austin, Martin Ransom & Martin Pritchard
Over 60s Wales Walking Football
National Team Manager
Wales Walking Football
Hedley has considerable experience of walking football (as player and manager) as well as extensive administrative and managerial experience outside walking football.
He spent his professional life as a Chartered Patent Attorney (working in Wales since 1984). He took up walking football in 2014 and has played with commitment and enthusiasm ever since. He has been a regular player in Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot, and was thrilled to win his first trophies in walking football at the age of 67. He has managed (and/or participated in) winning teams in tournaments at Bridgend, Llandarcy (Walking with Legends – as featured on Match of the Day), Cardiff, Pontypridd, Bristol and Brighton. He was (with Martin Ransom) the joint manager of the Wales over 50s and over 60s teams in the first ever Welsh Walking Football international matches (against England in Barry in September 2018), and is also a qualified Walking Football Association referee.
As a proud adopted Welshman, he is looking forward to facilitating the launch of a Wales over 70s team; he will also continue to work on the consolidation of the Wales over 50s and 60s teams that he helped to found.
Martin has extensive football related experience as a player, manager and referee. After giving up running football in his 30s, Martin successfully managed junior and youth teams for Neath Sports Centre (Cwrtherbert) for several years (winning the West Wales Cup and being runners-up in the Welsh Youth Team Cup).
Martin has been active in walking football since 2014 - and walking football has helped to give him a new meaning in life. Martin was a founder member of Neath Communities Walking Football Club, of which he is manager and a player; he has organised Walking Football events and sessions in cooperation with Celtic Leisure, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, Game On Wales. Hearty Wales and the Swans Community Trust.
Martin was (with Hedley) joint manager of the over 50s and over 60s squads at Wales first ever walking football international (played at Jenner Park in Barry in September 2018). He also helped to set up a successful Walking Football league based at Neath, and he organises weekly training sessions at the Neath Communities Walking Football home base in Cwrtherbert, as well as at Afan Lido.
Martin also has qualifications in football leadership, coaching, refereeing (including as a WFA tournament referee), safeguarding and first aid. He is qualified to work with people with disabilities and young people.
I would like to thank Martin Pritchard (over 50s manager) for the belief in me and in my vice captains; Steve Flowers and Steve Evans. I am excited and looking forward to working and playing alongside both as we strengthen our squads, grow the camaraderie and build for success. I also relish the prospect of working with all the coaching staff and management teams, as without their input and passion we would never have come this far.
With the amalgamation of the Welsh walking football squads, I now believe we will go from strength to strength, making a stronger more unified Welsh international squad that will carry the Welsh banner proudly into every tournament we enter.
Jim Gray 50+ Team Captain
It is a very great honour and privilege that I have been appointed captain of the Welsh over 50s walking football squad. When someone, as a child, starts to play any sport there is always in the back of their minds a dream to play at the highest level, today my dream has come true. Even if it has taken 50 years, it doesn't dampen the pride or passion I feel for my country.
John Rowlands 60+ Team Captain
Words cannot describe how extremely proud I am of this wonderful honour of being appointed Captain of the over 60’s Squad.
Firstly and most importantly, a huge 'Thank You' to Alan Carter in guiding us up to and through our first ever Walking Football International against England, which was very much appreciated by all the players.
This is a Fresh Start for everyone as a ‘Unified Welsh Team’ from which I am extremely excited about, and really looking forward to working with all the players, as we now have a strong, talented and committed bunch of guys! Furthermore, I am looking forward to working closely with our V Captain; Michael Parfitt, Manager; Martin Ransom, Coaches and our Committee Guys, as this will be a Team effort, on and off the pitch and always remember - ‘Together Stronger’!
Finally, never say never, as Walking Footballs Motto is ‘Rethink Retirement’ because it may have taken 20 years but I am now equal to my daughter, in sporting terms.