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Sunday, 31 August 2014

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Ryan Giggs? He’s a whippersnapper! Meet the 75-year-old Ulverston footballer

LIKE any self-respecting defender Pete Williamson doesn’t shirk a tackle.

He has that “they shall not pass” approach to the job.

Unlike any other defender, Pete Williamson is SEVENTY-FIVE.

The former church ministry worker can be seen in action every Friday night on Lakes Leisure Ulverston’s artificial pitch, where he comes face to face with opponents almost young enough to be his great-grandsons.

You can’t miss him – he’s the one in the Manchester City away strip with the Number 74 on his back.

“There’s a wide range of ages from students of 17 or 18 upwards to about 45. Nobody quite as old as me, though,” joked Pete, 37 years the senior of Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs.

Although he has no intentions of retiring, Pete does agree that his best days are behind him.

A one-time goalkeeper with Rusholme in the old Lancashire and Cheshire League, he admits that he first retired from the game for more than a decade just before England’s World Cup win in 1966.

“I learned the game in the cobbled streets of Moss Side and played in the Boys Brigade team before I joined Rusholme Amateurs,” he says.

“I became a Christian when I was 19 and took up ministry work so I had a 24-year break from the game.”

So what persuaded him to put on his boots again?

“It was in 1980 and I was doing ministry work in Jerusalem and found that the best way to communicate with the young lads, who were all in the Israeli Army, was to play football with them and I have been playing ever since,” Pete adds. Now, every Friday night, Pete, a lifelong Manchester City fan, joins a group of local businessmen and young hopefuls to bridge the generation gap and to enjoy 90 minutes of nine-a-side action.

He could well have retired for good when he was a mere youngster of 65 and suffered a broken leg.

So what keeps him going? The man who has played his football from the cobbles of Manchester’s Moss Side, via the streets of Jerusalem and on to a modern synthetic pitch has a one-word answer: Jesus.

“I’ll pack up when he tells me the time is right,” he said.

Have your say

Incredible. Praise Jesus, the Lord! I knew personally Peter being in Ulverston in May 2007. Now it seems he is much younger and strenghtened than before. I know him as devoted Christian and this you put in your news are the exact I like to promote "light of Jesus" in His true Body!, Peter surely belong to as an member and pattern for youths to follow his faith

Posted by Roman Legierski on 29 May 2012 at 13:43

Incredible. Praise Jesus, the Lord! I knew personally Peter being in Ulverston in May 2007. Now I live in Poland. But it seems he is much younger and strenghtened than before. I know him as devoted Christian and this you put in your news are the exact I like to promote "light of Jesus" in His true Body!, Peter surely belong as an member and pattern for youths to follow his faith

Posted by Roman on 29 May 2012 at 12:47

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