England football call-up for Hitchin's Pete Moss at age of 79
- Credit: PETE MOSS
Playing for your country is a dream nursed by every young footballer who ever pulled on a pair of boots - and Pete Moss is proof that it's never too late to make those dreams come true.
Keen walking footballer Pete proudly wore the Three Lions shirt against Wales after being called up to the England Over-75 squad.
He even hit the back of the net in the 1-1 draw only to see his effort ruled out, and then shared a familiar experience with more famous England players - defeat on penalties in the Merthyr Tydfil tie.
Pete, 79, who has lived in Hitchin for nearly 50 years, played regularly in Sunday leagues and other competitions throughout his working life and continued turning out in five and six-a-side games until he was 70.
Three years later he discovered walking football sessions organised by the Stevenage Football Foundation, and pulled out his kitbag again.
Walking football is booming all over the country, with fans full of praise for the combination of fun and fitness it offers players of all abilities.
There are daytime and evening sessions in Stevenage and Letchworth as well as further afield in Welwyn Garden City and Hertford.
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It's primarily aimed at those aged 50 or over, both men and women, though younger players are made welcome depending on their circumstances.
The success of the sport has led to the establishment of international squads at a number of age groups, with the O75 squad currently the most senior section.
Pete is one of a handful of players from Stevenage who have been selected for international action, Fred Ford, Terry Sage, Albert Swinson and Richard Wallace among the others, but he had to wait for his debut due to the pandemic.
He said: "I always played football for the sheer enjoyment and fitness it provided. I feel honoured to be able to enjoy walking football and even more so to play for England.
"When I first went to Stevenage in April 2016 there was a warm welcome and since then there have been some friendly games at Milton Keynes, Colchester, Leyton Orient and others. Every week there is always some banter and laughter.
"Walking football is an enjoyable way to maintain health and fitness - neither gender nor age is a barrier. I have met a whole bunch of people, some of whom never played football in their younger days, who enjoy taking part in a spirit of camaraderie."
Anyone who would like to get involved can find out more at www.stevenagefcfoundation.com or by calling 01438 222222.