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Players' union to issue pros with guide to dealing with depression

Up to 4,000 playing members and around 50,000 former pros will receive the advice pack in the wake of Gary Speed’s death, association chief says.

Leeds United fans hold up a scalf in memory of Gary Speed last night at the City Ground.
Leeds United fans hold up a scalf in memory of Gary Speed last night at the City Ground.
Image: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

THE PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALLERS’ association say they will send an advice pack to all its members about dealing with depression, in the wake of Gary Speed’s death last weekend.

The former Premier League star was found hanged by his wife in their Cheshire home on Sunday morning, an inquest in Warrington heard yesterday.

The players’ union has decided to produce a guidebook for its 4,000 playing members and up to 50,000 former pros.

“If nothing else I hope this tragedy can encourage people who need help to not hesitate to ask for it. I want them to know there is a support system in place to understand their concerns and address them,” association chief Gordon Taylor told the Daily Mail today.

Speaking to TheScore this week, Taylor said the PFA have steps in place to help deal with mental health issues but the topic is taboo in the English game.

“[Our courses have] been received very well, actually, and they’re welcome because it’s an issue that isn’t always met with understanding. I can recall when Stan Collymore was going through some difficulties at Aston Villa. They were threatening to sack him. I remember trying to explain to them that he was suffering from depression…

“The difficulty with it is that it’s an issue where you need the person himself to stand up, to come forward and understand that it can be dealt with in confidence.”

A page of the guide that will be issued to players. Via the PFA

Last night, fans of Speed’s first club, Leeds United paid special tribute to their league-winning No 11. After 11 minutes of their game with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground the travelling contingent sang Speed’s name for 11 minutes.

As the singing ended Robert Snodgrass put them ahead and they ultimately ran out 4-0 winners.

Watch the tribute here:

YouTube credit: LufcBrad15

The Premier League announced yesterday that there will be a minute’s applause at each top-flight English game this weekend.

Also yesterday, the Football Association of Wales indicated that they will not begin the search to find a replacement for the national side until the new year.

Why can’t sport come to terms with depression?

Inquest into Gary Speed’s death adjourned until January

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