A veteran rugby player has vowed to carry on playing – despite being 70-years-old and playing against players a QUARTER of his age.
Granddad Alan Goggin has been taking to the field for half a century and his club celebrate his birthday with a special match every year.
The former European water skiing champion plays tight-head prop for Colchester Rugby Club’s fifth team with his sons Ben, 44, and Luke, 42.
He fearlessly takes the brunt of the impact in scrums and plays in as many games as he can.
Mr Goggin said: “It’s absolutely wonderful, I look forward to every Saturday and I love the game and what it brings to me.
“It’s a special feeling to be out there on the pitch with you children.
“To play with them and to have them support you when someone from the other team confronts you is fantastic.
“They were both water skiers in their own right but that’s a very individual sport so even if I was coaching them I could never be out there with them. In rugby I can be.”
He added: “I started playing alongside my sons on my 50th birthday, at the time they were 20 odd years old.
“We have just kept it up, every birthday game they always support and play with me.
“In terms of father and son relationships there can’t be anything better.
“They also keep the predators off me on the pitch.”
Mr Goggin’s son Ben said: “His keenness knows no bounds.
“He is not the fastest on the pitch but more than makes up for it with his strength and experience.
“He knows how to scrum and has a few tricks up his sleeve.”
Mr Goggin, who is an Essex County Councillor for Brightlingsea and the town’s former mayor, said he has no plans on giving up the sport yet.
He started playing rugby to keep fit during the winter after the skiing season finished.
Every December 8 he plays in a special match to mark his birthday alongside his two sons.
They arranged a host of England rugby legends, including David Campese, Martin Corry, Will Carling and Jason Leonard, to record some messages for the birthday boy which were played after the match last year.
“The key to keeping coming back every week is to never go away in the first place,” he said.
“For the last 50 years I have played sport – and have never stopped – and I don’t want to stop to be blunt.”
The veteran admits he “can’t run” but his specialised position has seen him play for six different teams this season.
“But I’ve said to the skippers that I don’t want to be chosen out of sympathy, I want to be chosen because I’m good enough,” he added.
“I’m sure one day someone will put their hand on my shoulder and say ‘Listen Goggin, do you think it’s time…’.
“There are lots of guys who are maybe around 50 who have heard about me.
“They’ve seen that I’m still playing and have decided to get re-involved in the game.
“It’s ideal because they can turn up and play without worrying about the training on Tuesday or the ice baths after the match.”