Peter’s still on the ball
Peter Webster was born in Preston, Lancashire, sharing a birthplace with English football great Tom Finney. Not surprisingly, Finney was his idol when he was a boy.
But Peter’s passion for football (or soccer as we call it Down Under) really took hold when he was at high school in South Wales.
Inspired by a run of rugby union wins against Eton and other public schools in the south, his school principal declared union as the school game. Peter and his mates were having none of it; they refused to pick up the ball, kicking it instead.
“It was a little bit ridiculous but that headmaster just made me go more towards soccer,” he says.
Peter grew up, married and, during his 30s, with young kids in tow, played in the county league every Saturday and Sunday.
He moved his family to Australia when he was 41, taking up a position in process engineering at BlueScope.
On his first day at work, one of his colleagues said to him: “You’re Welsh . . . you must love rugby!”
And he replied: “No I don’t like the bloody game . . . I’m football but I’m too old for it.”
He soon changed his mind, joined a team in the churches league, then encouraged the team to join the district competition – “You play at the highest level you can”. He later formed an amateur competition with seven divisions, four open and three over-35s.
Now, at 75, Peter manages his team, and plays every Saturday, all year around.
His children and grandchildren also play soccer, and his grandson plays first grade in West Illawarra.
In June next year, Peter will be 10 years without missing a game, the last time being in 2006 when he was in Germany watching Australia play Brazil in the World Cup.
He gives his team mates “a good rollicking” for missing a game without a good reason.
Peter plays mid-fielder, classed the running position, and those closest to him in age in his team are a few players in their mid to late 50s.
“I can do it because I’ve kept playing, I haven’t stopped. As long as I can run I’m ok. As long as my legs and lungs work I can still play.”
When he’s not playing soccer, Peter takes the family dog for a 12-15km walk most days, rides a bike, enjoys the rowing machine, and does three-quarter sprints across the field a couple of times a week.
“I don’t end up with as many aches and pains as other people get.”
And his tips for others?
“Keep on playing, as long as you can.”