Anorak | Exploiting Gary Speed’s Death: How Many Footballers Will Die?

Exploiting Gary Speed’s Death: How Many Footballers Will Die?

by | 30th, November 2011

WE do not know why former Leeds United footballer and Wales manager Gary Speed died. The coroner has yet to rule that it was suicide. Yet the Daily Star manages to produce a front-page headline that warns:


On brink of what?

Jerry Lawton has news:

TEN top footballers have begged for help fighting depression following Gary Speed’s shock suicide.

First up: we do not know that Gary Speed suffered from depression. Unless a medic who was prescribing him treatment steps forward, or Speed’s wife choses to say something, we never will. We don’t need to know. We are nosy and curious. But knowing is none of our business . Secondly, Lawton’s opening line makes it sound as if the root of the ten footballer’s depression is Gary Speed’s suicide.

The desperate stars contacted Tony Adams’ Sporting Chance Clinic after the Wales manager was found dead at his £2million mansion.

Gary Speed drove them to it? 

The players, who have not been named, complained they had been secretly struggling to cope with the pressures and stress of the game at the highest level.

So. Speed’s death did not make them suicidally depressed. Is it that their work, in this case football, making the 10 grown men suicidally depressed? But how do we know there are “ten top footballers” battling mental illness? How do we know they have “begged” for help.

Last night the Professional Footballers’ Association revealed the 10 could be just the tip of the iceberg. They fear that many more are too scared to come forward in case their problems are exposed to team-mates, rivals and fans.

And headlines like “FIVE MORE FOOTIE STARS ON BRINK” are bound to help.

It turns out that the story is based on the words of Peter Kay, chief executive of the clinic for sportsmen and women set up by former Arsenal and England defender Adams, 45 “.

The BBC explains why that clinic was set up:

Tony Adams had a very public battle with alcoholism during his playing career, following which he founded the Sporting Chance Clinic to help fellow sportsmen through similar crises.

Only the Sporting Chance Clinic does not specialise in depression. Nowhere on its website does the word depression get a mention.

The Sporting Chance website does say:

We believe that education and training are a vital part of our holistic view on addiction and its treatment. By making the relevant information available we hope to help an individual take an honest look at their behaviour and make informed choices as to their situation. When describing ‘substances’ or ‘drug of choice’ we are referring to alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, food or co-dependent relationships. We consider all of these to come under the addiction umbrella.

It’s a place that specifically caters for sportsmen and women suffering from addiction.

Sporting Chance Clinic has created a specialised environment where men and women from all standards of sport can come and address various issues in their lives. We treat each person as an individual with unique problems and difficulties.


As our residential programmes don’t take more than four people at a time, we are able to give people the attention and understanding they need.  The programme is demanding and intensive, yet at the same time supportive and nurturing.

Sadly, the Star says “FIVE” are ON THE BRINK” One will have to miss out. Eenie, meenie, miny…

Our experienced and dedicated team endeavour to help our clients to understand, accept and deal with the problems they are facing. Our aim is to enable and empower our clients to develop new habits and make lasting changes in their lives. We recognise that an individual’s addictions or other destructive behaviours will have had a negative effect on their families, loved ones and employers. Therefore we seek to involve those close to the client in the recovery process wherever possible and provide additional levels of support where needed.

Sporting Chance Clinic utilises a house and cottage within the grounds of Forest Mere, quiet and secluded from the main resort complex. Our clients have the privacy and safety of the clinic and at the same time are able to use the main complex for gym work, swimming and spa facilities. We also benefit from eating at the award winning Champneys restaurant where the food complies with our nutritional beliefs.
These factors all contribute to Sporting Chance Clinic’s ethos of a holistic recovery for mind, body and soul.

Back in the Daily Star , Peter Kay is quoted thus:

“Over 10 players have contacted me since that news broke. That means 10 people are seeking help. That is an unusual amount.”

Can it be that Gary Speed’s death is now marketing opportunity? Should not the 10 players reaching out for help be treated in private? Why tell the media about it?

“It is fair to say Gary’s death has prompted them to ask for help. Actually admitting you need help is one of the hardest and bravest decisions to make, and at the clinic we will do all we can to try to get their lives back together.”

A hard and brave decision that makes it to the front-page of a tabloid.

Publicity for an illness can help a sufferer. It can reassure them that they are not alone, however isolated they feel. But not everyone wants

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Posted: 30th, November 2011 | In: Sports Comments (4) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink