After years at the coalface of west London football, former Uxbridge, Brook House, Northwood and North Greenford United manager Mick Harvey is taking things a little slower. Walking pace, in fact.
But as chairman of Uxbridge Amblers – Middlesex’s first affiliated walking football club – he remains as successful as ever.
Harvey, a QPR season ticket holder, founded the Amblers in August 2014 with friend Mick Geraghty – a former reserve-team manager at Hayes – after being inspired by a television advert which featured the sport of walking football.
Less than two years later, the club has won numerous tournaments, beaten Burton Albion to finish third out of 96 entrants in the National Cup, and also picked up silverware at the European Masters in Italy.
Predominantly aimed at the over-50s, walking football – which has exploded into life recently, with approximately 600 clubs in the UK, encourages those with mobility issues to keep fit and active, and can also help retired footballers stay involved in the game.
“A lot of the lads that have come down are my ex-players,” Harvey told West London Sport.
“People are pleasantly surprised by the standard when we play in tournaments. The thing has really taken off – I don’t think anyone’s been along and not come back.”
Amblers train every Friday night at the Hillingdon Sports & Leisure Complex in Uxbridge, although last week they had a diary clash with Middlesex’s T20 opener against Hampshire.
But it’s not all about football. The club has raised thousands of pounds for charity over the last couple of years through various events.
Harvey said: “Last year we raised £4,000 for Prostate Cancer UK, and we also support one of the mayor of Hillingdon’s charities, the Hillingdon Brain Tumour and Injury Group.
“Mick and I went down there and it was a real eye opener. Mick goes and sits and plays chair football with them and it’s absolutely brilliant.”