Earlier, former Blues and Wales winger David Cotterill announced his playing retirement from the ‘beautiful game’, but in an article with the BBC the 30-year old discussed that the so-called ‘beautiful game’ may not be as glamourous as many perceive, and like many others, I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you. He showed that whilst scoring beautiful goals against the likes of Huddersfield, Leicester City and Millwall, Cotts was experiencing a harsh battle against depression, something in which 3.3 out of 100 people in the UK face; according to www.mind.org.uk, the charity promoted by the EFL. Suicide is the biggest killer amongst men in the United Kingdom, and David discussed how he “searched for the easiest way out”, and used Lego as a therapy to distract himself from the long hours away from the football pitch. Although Cotts has admitted he’s unsure whether he will ever win his battle, David has reassured that sufferers of depression, anxiety and OCDs, to name a few, that this can happen to anyone. Despite having an “Aston Martin and a big house”, “you can’t help what happens in the brain.”
After making over one-hundred appearances for Blues after signing from relegated side Doncaster Rovers on a free, Cotterill was a fan favourite at St. Andrews, with an eye for extraordinary set pieces and long-distance goals, especially in the 14/15 season. After thanking his previous clubs as well as individuals including Brian Tinnion who provided the winger with his debut at Bristol City in 2004.
I’d like to say thank you to Cotts, if he reads this or doesn’t, by speaking out regarding his battles against depression many will be able to relate to the aforementioned struggles he has faced. There are many other footballers across the country who have also opened up, including Danny Rose, Aaron Lennon and Marvin Sordell. However, there is an incredible amount of people throughout the UK who suffer from depression and other mental health issues who are yet to open up. Just like Cotts said, it would be a “huge number” if everyone within football was “open and honest” about their struggles. Within the last year, there has been a 200% rise in professional footballers who have searched for help with mental health issues.
Although this is one of my shorter feature articles, I hope it says a lot. Thank you, David, for possessing the courage to openly discuss your struggles with mental health. Thank you for your commitments upon the pitch throughout your tenure at St. Andrews, and throughout your football career. Thank you for allowing people to relate to your struggles, as they know that they aren’t alone.
For the statistics used in this article, as well as support with mental health issues that you may be struggling, visit www.mind.org.uk, call 0300 123 3393, or text 86463.
Another charity targeted at men is CALM, the campaign against living miserably. They are available for contact from 5am-Midnight everyday on 0800 58 58 58, or visit their website www.thecalmzone.net.
By Jack Blenkiron, KRO.