Fine wine, they say, improves with age. Well, it’s just possible that footballers might be the same.
That is certainly the case in Bridgend, where St Brides have just scooped the Division One Trophy – with a goalkeeper that might just be the oldest player in our leagues.
Their experienced custodian, Robert Norfolk, 69, has been playing football for well over 50 years, and his skills show no sign of diminishing. Indeed Robert’s form has been such that he has taken the player of the season medal.
The team is a real family affair. Named after a side that Mr. Norfolk’s own Father started some 54 years ago and which featured the young Robert in goal.
Now the side features three generations of Norfolk’s, with Robert, three of sons – including Darren and Wayne – and a nephew all taking part.
Wayne couldn’t hide his admiration for the agile pensioner and when he spoke to the Glamorgan Gazette recently he added: “He’s on the team by merit not just novelty – he’s still as energetic as he was back then.”
Mr. Norfolk’s wife is proud of her trophy winning husband, although Darren did add that sometimes his dad’s daredevil nature did cause problems: “He’s still very brave and very agile. There’s a cut on his nose in the team picture and he got that from diving near people’s feet, he does keep a few injuries hidden from [mum].”
The man himself brushed away any injury concerns and explained that: “It’s about the sport but we like it when we win. It’s purely for a love of playing, you have to have that.”
A Leisure Leagues spokesman added his congratulations to the team, and also explained that this type of camaraderie and spirit was exactly what the leagues were designed for: “It is stories like this that make doing what we do so rewarding,” he said. “Of course it’s about a competitive game of football, and winning the trophy is great, but this is a team that brings three generations of the same family together and it is absolutely wonderful to see.”
The Norfolk family might yet have more to celebrate. After their championships winning effort last year, they have adjusted perfectly to the step up and currently sit second in the table after winning their first match of the new season 6-0. This is nothing new; it is after all, merely the latest in many, many clean sheets for Mr. Norfolk over the last six decades.Back to Blog