£ million if they have the money – the very situation that led clubs to instigate the ESL in a bid to keep up with state-powered teams with unlimited resources.
This benign attitude to market forces may also explain the content of the show, which is hugely biased towards the “Big
Six”. Almost inevitably, The Overlap is sponsored by a betting company and with almost two million views at time of writing it’s clearly got an audience. But with two hours to fill there’s really no excuse not to look at Brentford’s rise, discuss West Ham’s revival under David
Moyes or ask a Norwich fan how they feel about bouncing between the top two divisions. Perhaps one day we might get more media that’s able to be both politically fearless and inclusive. Until then we’ll have to get each where we can.
I M A G E S
G E T T Y
Chester managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley
Former Yeovil captain Lee Collins is remembered at Huish Park
Opening up MENTAL HEALTH
Yeovil Town captain Lee Collins was found dead in a hotel room in March. He was and is survived by his partner and three children. An inquiry in early August found that he had been “struggling with personal problems”. At the end of last month, his former colleagues sent an open letter to the players’ union, the PFA, asking them to offer more mental health support to their members.
I recently spoke to an experienced nonLeague player, who has spent four seasons in Steps One to Three. He says his mental health took a turn for the worse due to a combination of injury and money problems, which in turn negatively affected his relationship with his girlfriend.
Even after recovering from injury, his training performances remained “lethargic at best”, and not being able to get back in the team only made things worse. “I couldn’t open up. Talking to other players or the gaffer was a no-no. You’re in competition with these guys so you can’t show weakness. I tried to convince myself I was ‘normal’ and strong – a proper man. Looking back, it’s humbling to see how stupid that was. I’d hit rock bottom, and was drinking too much. I was only interested in football at school – so without football I had nothing. I was miserable and
Andy’s Man Club founder Dan Rowe
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D A N RO W E
irritable at home, and it took a brutally honest discussion with my girlfriend that I needed to sort myself out and see a doctor.” Diagnosed with depression, he continues to attend regular appointments and is now learning a trade to prepare himself for life after football.
Chester joint-manager Anthony Johnson believes the Collins case shows that help for players has to be much more accessible. “I can’t imagine how bad someone must feel to think that’s the only option they have. I don’t know what help is available from the league, and that’s a problem. It’s also seen as a new thing in non-League but there are thousands of players at that level who know nothing else. Where’s the support for lads who go from being cheered by a full stadium to having nothing? Some find it hard to adapt once they are out of the game. It needs to be clear what help is there and how to access it.”
Johnson admits he and management partner Bernard Morley had to change their own outlook to become more supportive. “We started managing in our mid- s. It was
SCENES FROM FOOTBALL HISTORY
D AV E RO B I N S O N