Big Issue Vendor

How a football memorabilia clearout saw it get extra time elsewhere

For one football fanatic, lockdown prompted a clear out of memorabilia for a good cause.
The 1966 World Cup is still the height of English footballing achievement. Image: Ben sutherland/Flickr

Win, lose or draw then lose on penalties, a game of football doesn’t end with the final whistle.

The Euros are a reminder of the important part sport plays in our national and individual lives.

Mike Douglas is a football fanatic. During lockdown, like many of us, he alleviated boredom by having a clearout.

“When you’ve spent decades collecting mementos of something you love, you don’t think there’ll be a day when you let it all go,” he says. “But with 2020 providing us all with the opportunity to take stock and reprioritise, I knew it was time to cut 30 years of football memorabilia loose.”

But instead of chucking or donating to a charity shop, Douglas wrestled with what he calls the “beauty and burden of nostalgia” by diligently cataloguing his soccer souvenirs.

Project Restart now exists as a website (www.project-restart.co) and coffee-table book.

“It’s a place I can come to dive back into my memorabilia whenever I’m feeling nostalgic,” Douglas explains. “A new way of bringing back memories of childhood heroes, classic kits, away-day adventures, and the many beers (and tears) along the way.”

Douglas was also determined that his collection could do good in its extra time. He auctioned some to buy new kit for his old school team, and donated more to The Sporting Memories Foundation and Football Memories Scotland, who help people experiencing dementia, depression or loneliness to connect with others through their love of sport.