About the European Legends programme

Walking Football Case Study

The Story of Alan Powell, who started playing Walking Football at Fulham FC Foundation.

Alan Powell is a 66 year old Fulham fan from Surbiton. Alan suffered a Heart attack on the 28th June 2003. He had a stent put in place but this failed to work and he suffered a second heart attack in August of the same year. After the second heart attack the doctors decided that a heart bypass was needed and an operation was carried out in December 2003. In Alan’s own words, he has being recovering ever since. On a daily basis he went through both a physical and mental battle to maintain his health, attending cardio rehabilitation with both St George’s and Kingston hospital. He was referred to gyms and support classes, and although this helped him get back on his feet, he still wanted something that could really motivate him.

In 2016, Alan found out about the Fulham legends programme by looking through Fulham Football Clubs website. He admitted that he was not aware of the work the Foundation did until that day, but was delighted to see that there was programmes he could attend. After attending the first session, and mastering the walking element, Alan was hooked and has been a central figure in the legends programme. When asked how he found the programme he noted. ‘‘Excellent!!! Great coach, great assistants and lovely members within our group. In the main, true “Fulham Family” supporters’’. Although the football was important to Alan, it almost came secondary to the social aspect as this is where Alan’s true personality shone through.  He makes a real effort to organise coffees, before, after and outside of the sessions and made himself the go to guy main to welcome any new member wishing to experience walking football in the community. He made a special effort with individuals who lacked confidence or ability and has with his brilliant humour, made them feel welcome straight away. Off the back of all his support I put Alan forward to do an interview with a Journalist from The Sunday Telegraph where he noted; ‘’it gives me that exercise that I need and I am meeting new people while I do it. I have found a new circle of mates. The basic thing that brings us together is the shared interest in Fulham Football Club, so we all remember the old players’’.

In the article Alan mentioned that the experience of playing again makes him feel like a young footballer again;  ‘’You get your kit on , you’ve got that feeling in the dressing room, you’ve got your mates around you, you get on the pitch, you get split into two teams –it’s just like being in school again.’’

Alan is the classic example of the success of the European Legends project. He is someone with multiple conditions that was socially isolated and needed something where he could improve his health in an environment he felt comfortable in. He has increased his levels of exercise, monitors his own health through wearable technology, volunteers and has frequently started our health initiative. He is now with Fulham Foundation three days a week and feel connected with the club and society. This all came from the love of playing and Alan sums it up perfectly below.

See you at 12 o’clock for “Goals” next Wednesday – I’m really looking forward to it – There’s nothing like playing eh?