Plans being spearheaded by former Norwich City winger Darren Eadie to establish a Norfolk retreat for footballers and other sportsmen and women who have battled depression have been endorsed by the boss of the Professional Footballers’ Association.

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Eadie, a product of Norwich City’s youth system, who played 168 times for City scoring 35 goals between 1993 and 1999, has recently gone public on his own battle with depression after his career was cut short by injury.

The former Canary and Leicester star wants to turn his own shattering experience into a positive by getting the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) to do more to help footballers cope with their depression demons and is looking to try and establish a retreat in the county for people to be able to go and get help.

Eadie, who met the PFA last month to discuss the possibility of setting up some kind of retreat where those with depression could go to get help, said it would help provide a vital lifeline for those professionals affected by depression.

The idea has been well received by the PFA with chief executive Gordon Taylor saying they endorse the “concept” and Eadie’s dedication to it and would like to try and help progress it in some way.

Mr Taylor said: “The concept of what Darren is trying to do is a good concept. That’s under consideration by the PFA and in what way we might be able to support that.”

But although it is an idea the PFA would support, the extent to which they might be able to pledge financial assistance would have to be decided by the association’s trustees.

Mr Taylor said the death of former Leeds, Newcastle and Everton star Gary Speed has prompted more people to approach them with issues surrounding depression.

He said they work with the Sporting Chance charity set up by former Arsenal and England captain Tony Adams to try and deal with such issues, have access to counsellors and are looking to establish a “network of help” throughout the county.

The PFA has also produced leaflets which contain information about depression and how people can access help if and when they need it.

But Eadie’s plans, which the star has discussed with fellow former Norwich star Cedric Anselin, provide another avenue from which people might be able to find the help they need.

Eadie explained: “It needs to be somewhere people can go and talk to like-minded people who have suffered similar things – it’s about creating a retreat for sports players and sports people to go to. If we can provide somewhere for people to do that, hopefully that will do a lot of people a lot of good.”

As previously reported, former Canaries’ fans’ favourite Cedric Anselin was once talked out of taking his own life by his wife.

The 35-year-old Frenchman, who played 29 times for the Canaries between 1999 and 2001 after being signed by Bruce Rioch, said: “It happened once. I had the rope around my neck and I was ready but my wife was there at the right time and had to stop me.”

Anselin, who left Carrow Road in 2001, a year before his contract was up, suffered severe financial worries after he said he had £250,000 of his savings stolen and ended up living on a caravan park in Lowestoft.

Anselin is the latest former City star to reveal he has battled problems with depression after Eadie and former Norwich striker Leon McKenzie also spoke out.

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