“Almost half of professional footballers face the threat of bankruptcy within five years of their retirement. A third will be divorced less than a year after hanging up their boots. With little or no support from the game to which they gave their lives, many end up addicted, depressed, living with debilitating illnesses, behind bars or even worse. What can be done to help with their transition to normal life?”
That’s the opening paragraph on the Catch A Falling Star website, an organisation set up by ex Ireland international Niall Quinn following his own mental struggles following retirement.
The former Sunderland, Arsenal and Man City star describe finishing playing as a “death within his life” and said he “felt dark, I did not want to see anyone. I did not want anyone to make eye contact with me.”
Quinn was a guest on Now That’s What I Call Sport on Sunday morning speaking as he joined Dublin Bus and volunteers to celebrate the Launch of the Dublin Bus Community Spirit Awards 2017.
Jamie Moore asked him about Aaron Lennon’s recent arrest under the mental health act.
Everton winger Lennon was detailed for his own safety after being found walking down the road barefoot.
“You don’t think you need help with anything at all. It’s a very difficult bridge to cross to get into the head of the bulletproof footballer who has been told he’s the best since he’s 14. Suddenly you’re talking to him in his mid to late 20s saying come on now, you’ve got to accept that you’re not prepared for what’s going to happen, there’s a big fall, you’re going end up in the deep end and you’re not going to be able to swim.” Said Quinn.
Listen to his fascinating 20 interview, in full, by clicking play on the link below.
Niall Quinn was speaking as he joined Dublin Bus and volunteers to celebrate the Launch of the Dublin Bus Community Spirit Awards 2017
The Dublin Bus Community Spirit Awards provides funding for volunteer community groups to develop new projects, improve their locality and help raise community spirit. Any voluntary group is eligible to apply for a grant of €1,000, €2,000 or €5,000. Application forms are available from www.dublinbus.ie.