Mental health affects everybody from all walks of life – and footballers are no exception.
Football League star Marcus Maddison is the latest professional who is considering quitting the sport, despite being just 27 years old. It comes a decade before he would be expected to call time on his career
The Bolton Wanderers loanee has not only had the pandemic to contend with, but he has also been held up in a hotel away from his young daughter. His loan deal in the north west, from Peterborough United, has been terminated after only just two months. He made only nine appearances for the League Two outfit.
There was a lot of pressure on Maddison to be the catalyst in turning Bolton’s play-off push into an automatic promotion charge. But he is slowly falling out of love with the game and is not sure if he even wants to continue for any longer.
“Well the football industry has eventually broke me,” Maddison wrote in an emotional Instagram post. “All the abuse, pressures and monotony of the last two years has just got to me.
“I’ve tried to fit in and be happy but if I can’t be happy In a winning team fighting for promotion it’s clearly something deeper.
“I’m returning home to think do I want to play football any more as it just doesn’t bring me any joy at all.
“I can’t thank [Bolton manager] Ian Evatt enough for understanding and wish @officialbwfc all the best for the final run in #football #health #life #bwfc.”
Maddison has received a wealth of support from the football world, including former Premier League striker and mental health speaker Leon McKenzie, who got in touch straight away.
Bolton manager Ian Evatt insisted the player’s welfare should always take priority over his professional career – and that message stands in all walks of life
“We would like to thank Marcus for his contribution during his time with us and he leaves with our full support,” Evatt said. “The consequences of the pandemic have brought many challenges to so many people, and Marcus, in particular, has found it exceptionally difficult being away from his young daughter and alone in his hotel room.
“First and foremost, our priority is the well-being of all our staff and players, and Marcus’ best interests are paramount.
“He is a very talented footballer and everybody at Bolton Wanderers Football Club wishes him well for the future.”
Maddison has been one of the leading stars in lower-league football over recent years, scoring 62 goals and providing 92 assists in 249 games for Peterborough, and his comments have come as a huge surprise. But perhaps they shouldn’t.
Marcus is in a very troubling situation, but from the perspective of openness about Mental Health, his candour and frankness can only be seen as a huge positive. He has been so brave to share his feelings, and it is to be hoped that others feel equally empowered.