At its core, to one person football memorabilia is just stuff. But to another, it's so much more. The industry as a whole is undoubtedly a sleeping giant: worth an estimated $4 billion USD, if sports collectibles were a club it would be the fifth most valuable in the world.

That's why newly-launched Athletic Club Momento is focused on bringing fans access to authentic match-worn football memorabilia, straight from the source, through its app, Momento Market.

Launching today with club partners AC Milan, Atlético de Madrid, SL Benfica, and Sevilla FC for live, in-game auctions of match-worn jerseys, Momento Market will also exclusively explore the private collections of legendary players like Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry, Cesc Fábregas, Dani Alves, and César Azpilicueta, alongside the stories behind them.

"I have shirts that are very special to me — shirts I’ve broken records in, shirts I’ve won titles in — but I didn’t understand the emotional value they carried for me until going through them with Momento," explains Thierry Henry, AC Momento partner and former Arsenal and Barcelona striker.

Over the years, I’ve been to football matches all over the world and seen some of the biggest names score some of the most important goals. Equally, I’ve been to smaller affairs too, most recently watching a lad my dad works withat a local heating-and-plumbing business ping a 30-yard belter into the stanchion on a dreary Tuesday night.

While the two are world’s apart in football terms, for fans the feelings they invoke can be just as special.

Unfortunately, throughout my 20-plus years of watching live football, I've got nothing but a Pedro Mendes Portsmouth jersey (from the side’s Great Escape in the 2005/06 campaign) to show for my attendance. Even that now finds itself in pride of place in the attic. But with AC Momento, they’re focusing on the stories behind the shirts—from the iconic swaps made by players at full-time to the jerseys fans can buy from their in-game auctions—and the beauty that can be held in them.

“I’m a football romantic, obsessed with the history and culture of the game, and feel like the category lacks the storytelling that makes match-worn [jerseys] so compelling,” explains John Brennan, founder of AC Momento.

"I’ve been collecting football memorabilia for years, and decided to start AC Momento in an effort to give fans like myself more opportunities to collect match-worn, and to be able to do so directly from their favourite clubs and athletes.”

Launching today with their first round of live matches this weekend, the platform is on a mission to bring clubs, players, and fans closer together through auctions, marketplaces, and an emphasis on community-led storytelling that ties together everyone—from ticket-paying supporter to club-leading captain—as a fan.

Tackling a key problem in the market, AC Momento is partnering directly with clubs and players to ensure authenticity, straight from the source through its Momento Market app. Each item is issued with a ‘Momento’—a beautifully-designed digital Certificate of Authenticity—that “proves each item's provenance and ownership while the physical shirt undergoes [their] end-to-end preservation process,” according to the brand’s website.

"Right now, my career, those shirts, I'm glad Momento can keep them in a secure vault,” says Thierry Henry. “They used to be everywhere, in one person’s house or another. So to finally have them in one place, that’s very important to me. And for that place to be secure, you never know what could happen. Someone could break into your home, steal everything, it happens to footballers all the time.”

Athletic Club Momento launches August 24th 2022, with auctions beginning the weekend of August 27-28; fans can download the Momento Market app from the App Store and Google Play Store.

For any football fan, memories are everything. And if AC Momento has taught me anything thus far, it's that I need to get that Mendes shirt from the attic, dust it down and cement it firmly on my mantelpiece. What a day that was.

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