THEY can hold their own on the pitch against players half their age.
So when they set themselves a new goal, Huddersfield football team Sovereign Sports AFC were more than up to the challenge.
They out their oldest-ever line-up, with members boasting an incredible 514 years of experience.
The players, who are aged between 40 and 62 and include two grandads, believe this is a record for any starting team in the country – and are challenging others to beat them.
The team of 11 were due to play the final Works League match of the season against Bay Athletic on Saturday at Reinwood Rec
Team founder Paul Sturgeon, who at the aged of 62 is the oldest player, said: “We played a few weeks ago against the Coach and Horses with seven older members and gave a good account.
“We thought it would be a nice end to the season if we could get a whole team out to start – although not necessarily finish!
“I think we’ve got the oldest line-up of 11 nationally and I would challenge other teams in a normal league to top that.
“Our ages add up to 514 years and we’ve got quite a few years of experience playing local football between us – my football career spans six decades.
“We’re an open age team, not a veterans’ team, but we can hold our own. We may be getting older but we’re still out to win.”
Paul, who owns the Sovereign Sports sportswear shop in Marsh, started the football team over 25 years ago.
In recent years the team have topped Division One and this season have finished third in the Huddersfield Works League.
The team, which is based at the Deighton Centre, has players from the age of 19, but the majority are aged over 30.
All of the older members in the line-up have played this season, but this is the first time they have all played together.
The group may be getting older, but for now Paul says the love of the game is keeping them going.
He said: “We’ve been together for a long time and are good friends. The goalkeeper started when he was 18 and he’s now 46.
“Anybody who is still playing in their 40s has got to have been a good player and you don’t lose the know-how.
“But it’s also the enthusiasm and love of the game that carries us through. We get a few aches and pains, but so do most players.
“It think it’s absolutely fantastic that we could be the oldest team.
“I think people see us and think ‘look at these old gits’ but they seem to accept the fact that we’ve played for a long time and are still good at what we do.”
Team member Tony Joyce, 48, from Dalton, reckons age is an advantage on the pitch.
Tony, who joined the team at 21, said: “I think these young ones think that once you get past 40 you’re past it, but then they see us and I think we put some fear into them!
“I hope these lads coming up now will keep going and follow by example. The legs can get tired, but the head and heart is still there and we keep going until we drop”.