Andy Munro talks about his international playing career.
Last week saw the inaugural over 65s international played between England and Wales at the Dragon Stadium, Newport, home to the Welsh international squad. Whether Gareth Bale will be playing in thirt-plus years time is open to debate but there must be hope for us all when both the oldest English and Welsh players were 74. In fact, if you had combined all our ages, we could have been playing the Saxons. Perhaps the most stressful time was the warm ups where nobody wanted to risk pulling a muscle.
However, walking football this was not and the game was played at a brisk pace with the ball being knocked around with aplomb. Dermot Gallagher, a referee with European Cup Final pedigree, said afterwards that not only was the standard of football excellent but with only three fouls recorded in the second half then he was almost redundant. On a personal note, one of the players penalised was me and I definitely took the ball before the man but the old Welsh fella rolled around like Jamie Vardy caught in full flight.
However, from my viewpoint, to enter a dressing room with the legend ‘England’ on the door and to sing the national anthem was a never to be forgotten experience. And unlike today’s Premier League players, we, at least, knew the words.
The game was fairly even with England probably edging it and eventually breaking the deadlock with a headed goal on the hour. Despite the age of players, it wasn’t a predictable Sir Alf Ramsey style 4-3-3, instead a modern 4-4-1-1. Nobody got cramp and the South Wales Ambulance Service weren’t called so overall a real success for the bus pass brigade.