28th March 2024

Participants of our Football Memories group enjoyed a visit from former referee John Rowbotham as a Specsavers-sponsored whistle-stop tour of Scotland came to Tannadice.


The official sponsors of the Scottish FA match officials have facilitated for retired refs to speak to participants of Football Memories, a project which assists people living with memory loss conditions, including dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as those experiencing loneliness and social isolation.

Established in 2009, Football Memories Scotland is a charitable project run by the Scottish Football Museum in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland.

With 500 groups around the country, often hosted in football settings, Football Memories uses engaging football-themed resources stored in a memory box to stir memories and discussions led by volunteers.

Paul Wilson, General Manager of the Dundee United Community Trust said, "Every football fan has countless memories waiting to be shared and through Football Memories, individuals with Alzheimer's across Scotland are given the key to unlock these precious moments and feelings, offering them and their carers opportunities for connection, belonging, and respite. This programme isn't just about the beautiful game; it's about the beautiful moments it creates in the lives of those touched by Alzheimer's."

"Our Football Memories group recently heard from John Rowbotham, who shared his journey from being an amateur footballer to representing Scotland as an international referee, as part of the Specsavers-sponsored tour, and I’d like to thank both Specsavers and John for their support of this fantastic programme."

Specsavers have sponsored the boxes for the referee tour and have helped to provide some exciting new content for them such as old football boots, photographs of former referees and other memorabilia.

Football Memories Scotlans

Long-term memories can be triggered for many through the visual cues of images, videos, artefacts and discussions taking place in a small group or even a one-to-one setting, unlocking precious happy moments from the past. The impact can be enormous.

Chief Operating Officer Joe Rice continued, "The impact of Alzheimer’s is all too common and to witness the power that the Football Memories group can have to relieve some of the pressure that builds is heart-warming."  

"Our award-winning community trust continues to lead the way in all areas of its programme and the club is delighted to support their efforts. It is also great to be able to assist Specsavers and John Rowbotham in raising awareness for both the programme and the wider Alzheimer’s issue that so many are impacted by."

Specsavers announced in 2021 that it renewed its sponsorship deal with football referees in Scotland, marking more than 20 years of support – one of the longest agreements of its kind in sport.

The deal has seen the partnership continue into 2024, not only helping with the training and development of referees, but also helping to raise awareness of para football and grassroots football in Scotland.