Norwich City legend Darren Eadie plans to set up Norfolk clinic to help footballers battle depression

Former Norwich City star Darren Eadie is planning to set up a Norfolk base as part of his plans to tackle depression amongst professional footballers.

Eadie spoke out about his own battle against depression earlier this summer and arranged to meet with the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) to try and prevent other players going through the same troubles.

Following his meeting with the PFA last Thursday, the former England Under-21 winger is now pressing ahead with his plans.

'We hope to buy a retreat where players can go to get their minds right, somewhere in Norfolk, near the beaches, secluded,' Eadie told The Telegraph.

'We think somewhere that holds a dozen players at a time would be great. From the conversations I've already had, we might be full very quickly.

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'I've been speaking to six players who I played with at Norwich City, who have come to me and said 'I'm struggling, I need some help'. That's just Norwich, that's just scratching the surface. It could be hundreds. One player rang me this morning and said it's affecting his family.

'Another player's wife found him with a rope around his neck. He's OK now. He wants to be involved in the retreat.

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'We'd like to have a specialist on call but the players would be met by former players who have experience of depression, making them comfortable and sharing experiences. It will be open to current and former players.' Knee injuries hampered Eadie's career and prevented from fulfilling his potential is an England player, eventually leading to him retiring at the age of 28 whilst playing for Leicester City.

The disappointment lead to his depression but after going public with his admission, the 37-year-old is determined to try and prevent more players suffering the same anguish.

He continued 'Last week, I went in to see the PFA. They understand there is a serious issue that needs addressing and the plan is now going to the PFA board this week.

'The PFA now do contracts where they make sure the club has to look after the player's mental health. That puts the onus on the clubs, to get the player away to a retreat, to rebuild the mind.

'There are players going into training now, laughing and joking, getting home and thinking 'thank God that's all over'. I know players who pulled out of games pretending they had an injury when they were suffering from stress.

'They need help to stop things spiralling.'

See tomorrow's Norwich Evening News for more about this story.

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