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Football league brings together fellow dads on the pitch

PUBLISHED: 16:38 31 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:38 31 July 2018

Match of the Dads (MOTD) football league - Papathinaikos
Paul Godfrey, who started MOTD, is the goalkeeper in the middle of the first row.
Photo: supplied by Paul Godfrey

Match of the Dads (MOTD) football league - Papathinaikos Paul Godfrey, who started MOTD, is the goalkeeper in the middle of the first row. Photo: supplied by Paul Godfrey

supplied by Paul Godfrey

One dad’s idea to bring together fellow fathers on the football pitch led to the creation of a special Norwich football league.

The Oldman Athletic squad in the Match of the Dads football league in Norwich.
Photo: supplied by Match of the DadsThe Oldman Athletic squad in the Match of the Dads football league in Norwich. Photo: supplied by Match of the Dads

Match of the Dads was the idea of 37-year-old father-of-two Paul Godfrey, and since it first started in April last year it has grown to be a seven-team league with more than 50 players.

Papathinaikos, Dads Army, Dadalona FC, Real Ma-Dad, Oldman Athletic, Dadston Villa and Dadford City are among the MOTD squads which play most Mondays at Goals in Hall Road.

“The main aim of MOTD is to get dads out and about, socialising with other dads at the same time as improving fitness,” said Mr Godfrey, who works for Aviva and lives in Dussindale with his partner Lucy Daynes and their daughters Charlotte, three, and Sienna, one.

“I also run another dad group - the Norfolk branch of The Dad Network - and I just thought why don’t a few of us get together and have a kick about with a football. The first time we had 12 dads and we decided at that point we would try to make it more regular.

Match of the Dads football league in Norwich.
Photo: supplied by Match of the DadsMatch of the Dads football league in Norwich. Photo: supplied by Match of the Dads

“We are now in our third season and we have 56 dads on the books making up seven teams. It’s a 42 match season in total and we also have a reserve pool of players for people that cannot commit full-time.”

He added: “The reason I started it, it’s all to do with mental health and being a dad. When I became a dad I kind of lost a little bit of my own identity.

“From a lot of dads’ perspectives, when a baby is born a lot of the attention, quite rightly, is is on the mother and the young child, and what I wanted to do is give an opportunity for some of the dads to regain their identity and also increase their social circle, and part and parcel of that is the mental health aspect too. It’s a well known fact that physical exercise can help alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.”

MOTD has also linked in with a charity called CALMzone - which stands for Campaign Against Living Miserably - and has raised about £500 for the good cause.

Match of the Dads football league - Dads Army
Photo: supplied by Paul GodfreyMatch of the Dads football league - Dads Army Photo: supplied by Paul Godfrey

When asked about his hopes for the future of MOTD, Mr Godfrey said: “The plans are to increase the amount of teams we have got. I would like to get up to 10 teams for next season and we may then need to look at having two leagues.”

To find out more, visit www.facebook.com/MOTDNorfolk

MOTD also has its own YouTube channel featuring footage of all the matches.

Match of the Dads football league in Norwich.
Photo: supplied by Match of the DadsMatch of the Dads football league in Norwich. Photo: supplied by Match of the Dads

Match of the Dads football league - Dadalona FC
Photo: supplied by Paul GodfreyMatch of the Dads football league - Dadalona FC Photo: supplied by Paul Godfrey

Match of the Dads football league - Real Ma-Dad
Photo: supplied by Paul GodfreyMatch of the Dads football league - Real Ma-Dad Photo: supplied by Paul Godfrey

Match of the Dads football league in Norwich.
Photo: supplied by Match of the DadsMatch of the Dads football league in Norwich. Photo: supplied by Match of the Dads

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