A football-mad grandad is cleaning up the cost of playing the beautiful game – one pair of boots at a time.
For five years, Denis McGurk has been transforming used football boots ready for a new player to pull on – helping reduce waste and preventing anyone being priced out of taking to the pitch.
So far, he’s spruced up 1,200 pairs ready to wear, saving them from being binned and giving budding footballers free boots.
He told STV News: “What really was the catalyst was reading that in Dundee at that time child poverty was one in four.
“I’d imagine in recent years that’s possibly gone in the wrong direction. If parents or guardians were struggling budget wise, football boots were never going to be on the shopping list.
“It wasn’t just about football; it was about the whole general wellbeing of boys and girls out there learning social skills, they learn teamwork, they learn communication, listening skills, respect.”
From Dundee United to Manchester United, football strips are unaffordable for many families.
But kits dropped off with Denis are also given out to grateful groups of girls and boys.
The first pair of boots was given to a girl who has since won player of the season with her team.
He added: “We don’t often get to see the smiles on their faces, but we know they’re there.
“There was a wee boy up in the park kicking a ball and one of the ladies said he wanted new football boots, but that school shoes are the priority.
“I asked ‘would you like a black pair or a red pair?’ and he said ‘oh, the red pair.’ I let him have a pair of boots and the smile on that wee boy’s face was unbelievable.”
Denis is urging people to have a look for old boots in their homes that could be given a new lease of life.
“Please have a rake in the cupboards, in the attic, the shed,” he said.
“Two things; the boots need to not be burst and the studs if they’re moulded, not to be worn down.
“But as long as the donors can provide, there is a demand for it.”
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