The mental health taboo: the unhealthy side of football


Josh Jackman looks into mental health, one of the remaining taboo subjects in football…

“I was branded a disgrace for revealing I was suffering from depression. People just couldn’t understand it when outwardly they thought I had everything – to them I was living the dream.”

Stan Collymore’s comments this week were shocking but unsurprising. Despite progress being made over the last few years – particularly with the Professional Footballers’ Association’s establishment of a support service in 2013 – mental health is still a taboo subject in the sport.

In the year since the PFA set up the National Counsellors Support Network for Professional Footballers, it has helped 136 players who have diseases from depression to addiction. The number of footballers who suffer in silence, however, is anyone’s guess.

One in four people will suffer from mental health issues at some point in their lives, while 10 per cent contract depression. Statistically speaking, that means there are hundreds of professional footballers in the UK who have not yet sought help. Continue reading

Why Danny Welbeck holds the key for England at the World Cup

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Pete Sharland reveals how he has been won over by Danny Welbeck, and believes he can play a big part in England’s World Cup summer…

Right, let’s get one thing clear from the outset; my dislike for Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley had nothing to do with the fact that they play for Manchester United. The reason was that I couldn’t fathom why either were such key parts of a club like United and of the England team. Both had fairly decent loans at Sunderland and Wigan respectively but neither deserved to be where they were.

This season though that’s changed. Well Cleverley hasn’t, he’s horribly out of his depth but that doesn’t excuse some half-wits creating a horrible petition to get him out of the England team. The man who has won me over however is Danny Welbeck, and it is quite hard to pinpoint why. Perhaps it is his cheeky grin when he scores, although you can be certain it isn’t his infuriating dance. Continue reading

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gunning for World Cup place


After an impressive individual display in Munich, Nathan Carr considers Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s role in the England team ahead of the World Cup…

Arsenal left the Allianz Arena on Tuesday night empty-handed after fighting back from a goal down to clinch a draw. But it wasn’t enough as the aggregate score of 3-1 sent Bayern through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

As the Arsenal players trudged off the pitch at the final whistle, one individual could hold his head high: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He was outstanding on the night, acting as the only real attacking threat for Arsenal throughout.

The midfielder has only recently returned from a lengthy period of time out on the side-lines which makes his performance even more impressive. With Roy Hodgson carefully monitoring players in varying competitions right up until he announces England’s World Cup squad, Oxlade-Chamberlain’s exploits against Bayern will certainly do him no harm at all. That game may well have just cemented his place in England’s squad to travel to Brazil. Continue reading

Roy Hodgson and five other crazy coaching methods

Steven Gerrard, left, believes Roy Hodgson's hiring of Dr Steve Peters will be invaluable to England

TFN regular Piers Barber takes a look at some of the more unusual managerial strategies of recent years…

Roy Hodgson raised a few eyebrows last week with his confirmation that Dr Steve Peters had been recruited to work with the England team during their preparations for this summer’s World Cup.

The idea that the recruitment of a psychiatrist will be sufficient to heal England’s mental block over penalties at major tournaments may be a bit of a stretch, to say the least. Yet the madness levels of Hodgson’s latest addition to his coaching staff pale into insignificance compared to some of the other weird and wonderful strategies that his managerial counterparts have employed over the years. Here are some of the best. Continue reading

Jamaica show ruthlessness on two-match Caribbean tour


Nathan Carr, editor of The Home of Caribbean Football, takes a look at the current state of the Jamaican National Team…

A 2-0 win against Barbados on Sunday 2nd March and a 5-0 win against St Lucia on Wednesday 5th leaves Jamaica in impressive shape as they end their two-match Caribbean tour on a high. These two international friendless were arranged with the specific aim of preparing the team for the forthcoming Caribbean Cup tournament and Jamaica can take a lot out of them.

There’s no hiding the fact Jamaica were tipped to claim wins in both of these games, largely because of the opposition they faced in the shape of Barbados and St Lucia – two sides which still have a lot of work to do in order to be highly ranked within the Caribbean region. But Winfried Schäfer’s men had to be thorough, professional and avoid complacency. And they did just that, notching up seven goals and conceded a grand zero.

This presented the perfect opportunity for Schäfer – who had been visiting local domestic matches to monitor players before the two fixtures – to experiment with some inexperienced home-based individuals such as Harbour View’s Kemar Lawrence, Portmore United’s Ricardo Morris and Arnett Gardens’ Renae Lloyd. The German coach has harped on about giving young homegrown players a go since he was appointed last year, insisting there must be an effective blend with squad members based in Europe. Continue reading

Podcast: The Third False Nine Pubcast with Jack McInroy and Rob Pollard

TFN’s Greg Johnson, Hugo Greenhalgh and James Dutton welcome Jack McInroy of Yids and South London Hardcore and Rob “Typical City” Pollard onto the panel for a third live “Pubcast” at The Old Red Lion Theatre Pub, in Angel.

With Rob running late, racing across London in a taxi straight from the League Cup final, the diminished foursome chat about Spurs, anti-semitism in football and Alan Pardew’s fighting skills. Once completed, the five-piece then turn their attentions to City’s Capital One Cup win, directors of football and a footballing take on the Oscars.

The chat is interspersed with the usual frivolities, audience interaction and mind-twisting tangents to keep you and your ears entertained throughout the show.

Listen via Soundcloud: …

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Alan Pardew’s Moments of Madness

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Piers Barber looks back at five moments of Alan Pardew madness…

Alan Pardew has won both the Premier League Manager of the Season and LMA Manager of the Year awards, has twice led teams to Premier League promotion and is surpassed only by Arsene Wenger as the longest serving manager in the Premier League.

Yet the current Newcastle United boss still seems determined to prove that he has a few wires loose, with his behaviour on the touchline repeatedly proving irresponsible, and often nasty. A succession of crazy moments reached a bizarre culmination on Saturday, when he was sent to the stands for headbutting Hull City’s David Meyler.

Pardew has already been fined £100,000 for his actions, and can expect more punishment in the coming days from the FA. His case is unlikely to be helped by the fact he has considerable previous in the field of managerial indiscretions. Here are five of his worst moments of madness that are coming increasingly close to defining his managerial career. Continue reading