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Meet Britain's Oldest Footballer, 83, Who Is Looking For A New Club

Meet Britain's Oldest Footballer, 83, Who Is Looking For A New Club

"I feel like I am capable of playing 90 minutes," insists Dickie Borthwick, who will celebrate his 84th birthday next month. "I will give 100%. I'm solid as a rock, well built, fearless and have a true love for the game."

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The man known as Britain's oldest footballer isn't getting any younger as he approaches another year of his remarkable life but he is, in his own words, "fit as a fiddle".

You could even argue Dickie is the fittest pensioner in the country.

The veteran can often be seen improving his technique and power in his back garden. "There is a brick wall down there," he tells SPORTbible in an exclusive interview.

"I often practice my shooting by hammering the ball against it to keep my legs mobile."

And if you live nearby, you might even spot the veteran at his front door, performing a series of breathing exercises to keep him in tip top condition.

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"Every morning I go to the front door and take in 10 really deep breaths of fresh air. I also do it in the evening before I go to bed."

Image: Dorset Media Service
Image: Dorset Media Service

As you can probably gather by now, Borthwick isn't your average 83-year-old man.

A retired engineer from Weymouth, a seaside town in Dorset, the experienced striker-turned-left winger is passionate about a return to the game. "I'm very available." he says. "I miss playing football terribly".

He is currently without a permanent club after previous veteran teams folded. In fact, there is just one veterans team left in the area, but things just aren't the same as they once were.

"They are very competitive and they have players who are 35 or 40 years old." he says. "They aren't veterans. We used to play football once a fortnight. There was comradery and something to look forward too. I used to play piano in the pub.

"But those days are over. Dead and gone."

The 83-year-old insists he is still on the look out for further opportunities after appearing in several charity games, but he doesn't want to play walking football.

"I've been asked to take part in the past, but I don't want to. I feel like I am capable of playing 90 minutes." he insists.

"Obviously I'm not going to charge around like I did 30 years ago, but I'd go at my own pace. A steady pace."

So what can Dickie bring to a team? It goes without saying that he has a wealth of experience under his belt.

Borthwick, a lifelong Manchester United fan, has made 1,600 appearances in a career spanning 72 years and counting.

In his early years, he played for Ross County and Invergordon Town FC in the Scottish highlands before moving to Dorset, where he's made appearances for 11 non-league clubs, including a more recent spell at Portland Town

"The Tank", as he is affectionately known on the pitch, has also netted over 400 goals to date, and continues to try and improve himself both on and off the pitch.

Dickie maintains a strict diet to make sure he's ready when a call-up comes around.

"I don't eat any rubbish. I try to eat good, healthy food. You don't want to go out looking like a beer barrel do you?" he laughs.

Like many of his Sunday League compatriots, he does enjoy a cheeky pint or two at the weekend but nothing excessive.

"I'm not a heavy drinker but that's my routine. A doctor once told me that a few pints of bitter is like medicine. I've taken his advice and look at me now."

Image: Dickie Borthwick
Image: Dickie Borthwick

For most of his career, the veteran has been lucky when it comes to injuries.

In fact, one of his rare scrapes, a lower back injury suffered in one particular game, may have just saved his life back in October 2012. "If it wasn't for football, I may not be here," he says.

Borthwick was in his 70's at the time when an opponent knocked him to the floor. It was purely accidental but Dickie landed heavily on his back, so he decided to visit a doctor.

"There was no real damage done" he tells SPORTbible. "But as a safeguard, they wanted to take a blood sample. Within three or four days, I was asked to go to Dorchester hospital.

"They told me the bad news but it was treatable"

Borthwick was diagnosed with prostate cancer but after eight weeks of treatment, the 83-year-old confirms that stage of his life is now over. "My love for the game certainly was driving me on to beat it and I have done that." he says.

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Dickie tells me he is a "lucky man" with "good genes" but there's more to him than that. The 83-year-old is one of the most inspirational people I've ever spoken to.

He's ambitious and passionate; not just about football, but life in general.

And he just wants to play football again, even if it just a charity game.

Featured Image Credit: Yahoo Sport

Topics: Football News, Football, Legends

Jack Kenmare

Jack Kenmare is a writer at SPORTbible. He's interviewed some huge names in the world of sport, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pele, Carles Puyol and Tim Henman. He dabbles in all things sport, but football is his biggest passion. He was once hit in the head by a wayward strike from Nicky Butt and lived to tell the tale.

 

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