DEPRESSION within football has been one of the major talking points within the last 12 months.
Harrier reporter Jake Murphy discovered more about this when he interviewed former West Ham United, Swindon Town, QPR, Harlow Town and non league player Bertie Brayley.
Depression suddenly hit Brayley, when he was 33. He said “I didn’t know I had depression. I didn’t want to get out of bed and was up until the early hours playing my sons computer games. It was paralysing for someone who is a strong and active character.”
Brayley went to the doctors but refused the medication he was offered after being diagnosed with moderate depression.
He said, “I never take medication, not even for headaches so I asked the doctor what else I can do.”
The doctor suggested doing exercise and as at this time he wasn’t playing football on a frequent basis, he decided to join a David Lloyd gym in Basildon.
Brayley stated, “It didn’t happen over night it took around eight months and slowly I started eating better, looking better and feeling better and I looked good in whatever I wore.”
Brayley’s eldest, and only son at the time, was also a massive factor in keeping him fighting through those difficult times.
Around the time Brayley was diagnosed, he was the manager of Isthmian League One team Burnham Ramblers. He described this as a challenging role because he was limited to a wage bill of just £300 a week for players. He resigned from he team in 2015.
Brayley has played for many clubs over the years, but his time at Chelmsford City was especially rewarding, as he got 115 caps under his belt.
Today Brayley says, “ I am in heaven with the love of my life and a 16 month old boy.” He is engaged to be married and his fiancé is extremely supportive.
Brayley insisted that depression could happen to any man. He said “It’s not a physical thing, it’s mental and I know some very very hard men who have said how horrible it is, so please if there are any men who are suffering, remember it doesn’t make you any less of a man’’
Looking back on his career Brayley does have one regret and that was joining non-league Canvey Island FC in his early twenties.This was not because it was Canvey Island, but looking back he wishes that he had tried to get into a league club after his release from Swindon Town FC.
Brayley advises any young players whether or not they are going through depression, to go on trial, join a decent non-league club, and keep training every day.
As a sufferer of depression and low level anxiety himself, Jake decided to organise a charity football match at Concord Rangers FC and Brayley will be one of the players.
For further details please keep updated with the Concord Rangers Twitter Page.