DO YOU ever stop to think about where you are most likely to be at the age of 81? In a retirement home or living with your long suffering spouse perhaps?
Well, for Dickie Borthwick it is a totally different story, as he has never allowed his ageing joints to force him into giving up his love of playing football. In fact, he says he still feels he could play a full 90 minutes each week!
Last December, the grandfather of five who lives in Dorset, sent out a plea to clubs urging them to sign him as he was struggling to find one because of the fact that he had become too old to play veterans’ football (which is usually played by 30-40 year olds).
However, once the message was sent out, Dickie, known as “the oldest winger in Town”, was inundated with offers of a game from as far away as America and was also contacted from clubs in Poland and Portugal, who wanted to sign him up.
In the end, the 81-year-old, opted for somewhere closer to home, lacing up his boots for Portland Town FC in a charity match in December of last year. He played for the non-league side’s veterans team in a friendly game against the club’s Saturday ‘A’ side.
The youngsters won 4-2 on the day but Dickie played 70 minutes of the match and did score a goal from the penalty spot.
At the time, he told The Sunday Express: ” If the standard on Sunday is suitable then hopefully I can carry on playing on a regular basis.
“But if it’s too competitive and the players are only there to win then I won’t be interested.
“I just want to play 90 minutes of friendly football every other week.”
Before the charity match, he had been invited to join a walking football team – a new slow-paced version of the game aimed at senior citizens – but rejected the offer as he can still run for 90 minutes
Football-mad Borthwick has played parks football every season since 1948, racking up around 1,600 games in his career, scoring (he says) around 400 goals.
The retired engineer began his footballing career at the age of 12 when he played for Invergordon Academy in the Scottish Highlands.
He went on to play for Ross County and then Invergordon Town FC before his family moved south to Dorset. He then played for a total of 11 non-league clubs, including Sherborne Town, and regularly banged in 25 goals a season (or so he says!).
Speaking about his love of football, he told The Dorset Echo: ” If someone said to me, ‘we have a game tomorrow’, I would be there in a flash.
“At the age of 81 I’m still physically and mentally fit and available to play for a team that’ll have me. I’ve still got a few skills, you don’t lose those, and I can do a job down left flank once every other week.
“I frequently go out onto my lawn and practice with the ball by knocking it against the wall.”
Dickie puts his long lasting fitness down to quitting his 30-a-day smoking habit, drinking tea and eating a bowl of porridge before every game. He beat prostate cancer in 2013 and returned to football shortly after.
So, next time you’re out and about kicking a football down your local park, forget replicating Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, because Dickie Borthwick is the one who represents what the beautiful game is truly all about. Amazing!