Willie Allan, 46, Marks & Spencer, Union Street, Aberdeen

"I got to see the great Aberdeen team of the ’80s under Sir Alex Ferguson. They’d be worth about £300m now."

It’s been really freezing cold here in Aberdeen this winter but I have a really good pitch and a lot of great customers who keep me going. I can’t thank them enough for all their support. I broke my arm not too long ago – it happened after a gang of teenagers chased me, and I tripped and fell. When I had my arm in plaster everyone was asking for me and were all very kind.

Before I started selling The Big Issue, I was on the street and my addiction problems were getting the better of me.

I’ve been selling the magazine for a few years now. Before that, my addiction problems were getting the better of me and I was on the street. I slept in the shelter that the churches organise here. You would get a hot drink and a spot to lay down but I didn’t want to keep doing that.

Selling The Big Issue gave me structure back and gave me something positive to focus on when times were really tough. I have somewhere to stay now, and I’ve a lot of support from The Big Issue staff, so I’ve been slowly piecing my life together.

Photo credit: Richard Frew

I grew up in Aberdeen – my whole world is here. What with it being an oil city, and what with the industry going through some tough times at the moment, you can see people are struggling. Some of the shops in the city centre are boarded up for the first time in years. What happens offshore seems to affect everyone in the city, one way or another.

I know every part of the city. I’m fond of walking around town, or going down along the esplanade, along the coast. During the summer it’s very nice indeed to wander along the beach and watch the tide come in. Other than that, I might go and visit my sister’s grave. She died back in 1995, so I sometimes go and have a wee chat with her at the graveside, to let her know how I’m doing.

Photo credit: Richard Frew

I’m also a big football guy and a big Aberdeen FC fan. When I was a young boy my dad took me to all the home games at Pittodrie Stadium. I got to see the great team of the mid-’80s, when Sir Alex Ferguson was the manager and they had great players. That team would be worth about £300m these days, wouldn’t they?

I’ve certainly had my low moments over the years but I’m just happy to be on top of my problems and I’m still hoping for better times ahead. I suppose I just want a bit of peace and quiet – a simple life.

My favourite team… Aberdeen FC. It’s hard to choose one favourite player – the three best were probably Gordon Strachan, Willie Miller and Alex McLeish.

The one place I’d love to visit… Amsterdam. Everyone raves about it – it sounds to me like it would be a great place for a holiday, with chilled-out people and warmer weather.

On my pitch… I’m at M&S, Union Street, Aberdeen, 9am-3pm

Union Street, Aberdeen, United Kingdom