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Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
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Issue: - 15 August 2013

Have we found Britain's oldest footballer?

STANLEY Matthews famously played top division football into his 50's, yoga freak Ryan Giggs is playing for Manchester United despite nudging 40, but both these legends are mere youngsters compared to Frankie Delling.

Mr Delling was 77 years old in May 2013, but still plays 6 a side every week, turning out for the Armageddon Tired team. He says he is still:- "intrigued by the game."

The sport has been part of his life for over 70 years:- "My 1st football memory was playing in school at the age of 6. The highest level I ever got to was playing for the RAF against a Cypriot Representative team whilst I was on National Service, but playing football is something I have always done. At my age it's just nice to be asked!"

Unbelievably, Frankie's football was nearly ended at the age of 30, when he was struggling to overcome a series of ankle injuries that had dogged him. It was then he received the advice that he credits with his longevity. "The doctor told me to give up smoking and the injuries just cleared up. In fact I played some of my best football between the ages of 30 and 45." he explained.

Frankie lists Manchester United as his favourite team, although he jokes that this was:- "pre Rooney," has the following advice for youngsters who want to follow in his footsteps:- "Not much alcohol, eat well but stop before you are full."

The league he plays in is run by Leisure Leagues, who operate leagues in Southport at Greenbank High School and their spokesman Damian Bryson said that Frankie's tale was exactly the sort of thing that the league is designed to promote:- "We want our competitions to be very much the focal point of their community and to be as inclusive as possible so that anyone can play, and what Frankie is doing proves that it works."

For the man himself there are no plans to hang up his boots:- "Every day, I am feeling fitter and sharper and want to carry on playing for as long as I possibly can."

Anyone wants to join the leagues in Southport can log onto:- for more information.

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