Former footballer Richie Sadlier has called for greater supports for players when they retire from the game as he admitted to contemplating suicide after he was forced out due to a hip injury in 2003.
The football pundit made the admission on his show "The Player's Chair" on the Second Captains podcast network while interviewing former Irish international striker Niall Quinn.
Sadlier, who is also a columnist, was with Millwall for seven years before he had to retire in September 2003 after suffering a debilitating hip injury.
The 38-year-old revealed that the injury enforced retirement had affected him so much that he had made out a will and had formed a plan to kill himself.
Sadlier said: "By December, I had contacted a solicitor. I had started writing a will. I lived in a house with a swimming pool in the back yard. My plan was to jump in there and not get out."
The former Belvedere striker developed a drinking problem to numb the pain of cutting his football career at the age of 23.
He told Niall Quinn that he first thought of suicide after a Millwall Christmas party a couple of months after his retirement.
He said: "I was even unsure whether I should go – I wasn’t part of the squad, I wasn’t a Millwall player.
"The lads were great, one by one, they’d give me a little pat on the back and a hug and the slanty head, ‘God love you’.
"The 12th or 14th time, I thought, ‘This isn’t fun’. And I met Tim Cahill in the jacks, and to give him credit, what he wanted to say was something along the lines of, ‘Do you know what, having seen you go through what you’ve gone through, makes me appreciate more what I’ve got and I’m going to enjoy it more, and hope you’re ok.’ What he actually said in his drunken haze was, ‘Do you know what? The fact that I can still do the one thing you can’t makes me f**king buzzing.’
"I thought I was going to start crying. I quickly made a beeline for the exit. By the time I got there, I was crying.
"It was lashing rain and pitch black. I lived about a mile and a half away and I couldn’t get a taxi because all the drivers are Millwall fans… That was the point that I thought I had no place in the world. I’m lost."
The Dubliner attended therapy to tackle his depression and went on to first gain a Counselling and Psychotherapy degree from the Dublin Business School, then an MA in Psychotherapy at the same school.
Sadlier has encouraged anyone with mental health issues to be honest about their feelings and to look for help.
He said: "I think a lot more could be said about what people do to help themselves. A lot of people can identify with feeling shite – you don’t have to be a sportsperson.
"Okay, you’ve had that feeling. Where was the support? What were your options? Mine, I went to a therapist."
Anyone who has been affected by the issues raised in the article can contact the Samaritans on 116123, visit www.samaritans.org or contact Pieta House on 1800 247 247 who have a website www.pieta.ie.