Ex-England star returns to former school for launch of environmental football campaign

David James Football Rebooted

David James returned to Ridgeway Academy to launch Football Rebooted. - Credit: Graham Scambler Photography Ltd

Ex-England international David James returned to his former school in Welwyn Garden City this week to help launch a new environmentally friendly football campaign.

The goalkeeper visited Ridgeway Academy - known as Sir Frederic Osborn when James attended the school in the 1980s – to launch Football Rebooted, a Utilita Energy campaign to rehome football boots that would usually end up in landfill.

Football Rebooted aims to find homes for one million used pairs of boots, with James delighted to help unveil the campaign at Ridgeway.

David James

David James attended Ridgeway - then known as Sir Frederic Osborn - in the 1980s. - Credit: Graham Scambler Photography Ltd

“It was great to return to my former school to officially open the Football Rebooted school's collection campaign,” said the ex-Liverpool and Portsmouth shot stopper.

“Right now, there are millions of pairs of football boots that people have grown out of or replaced, and we need to make sure they don’t end up in landfill. 

“Getting these boots replayed through will not only save families a few quid, but will also act as an important reminder about the power of upcycling and reusing items that still have a lot of life left in them.”

David James

Pupils from Ridgeway donated boots to Football Rebooted. - Credit: Graham Scambler Photography 2021

Sarah Mitcherson, headteacher at Ridgeway Academy, was proud to welcome James back to Welwyn Garden City and believes he is the perfect person to act as Football Rebooted’s ambassador.

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“The pandemic has made life much harder for so many families, so it’s great to know that hundreds of our pupils’ boots will go on to be worn again,” she said.

“We’re extremely proud to have such high-achieving alumni such as David James, who, with his green lifestyle credentials is so well-placed to launch football’s biggest ever environmental movement throughout the nation’s schools.

“We envisage this campaign seeing excellent engagement for many years to come.”

David James

Utilita is hoping to rehome one million football boots. - Credit: Graham Scambler Photography 2021

As part of the new campaign schools can request boots be sent to them for children who they identify as needing football boots to enable them to play in or outside of school.

Premier League and Football League clubs such as Leeds United, Southampton, Portsmouth and Derby County have backed the campaign, while boots used during this year’s Soccer Aid charity match will also be rehomed.

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