Football & Depression, and A Bit More

Football’s a funny old game. If you’re of a certain age, that came into your mind voiced by Jimmy Greaves. In mine, it was Jimmy Greaves Spitting Image puppet which shows the impact he and Ian St. John had back in the day. Their bonhomie was unusual by the standards and changed the way it was presented on television. Or contributed to it, anyway.

There’s nothing funny so far in Michael Carrick’s autobiography which The Times is serialising this week. Defeat in the Champions League final sent him into a spiral of depression in his own words. The extract doesn’t mention a clinical diagnosis but instead hints at Carrick ‘being a man’ and keeping it to himself, a secret from everyone bar his family. Which is something positive in a dark situation; not talking to anyone is far worse.

I’m sure there are many who will question why a man paid x thousand pounds per week was affected in such a way. That’s looking at the situation back to front. Money has nothing to do with depression; it is a condition which knows no mercy. Would Carrick send a stronger message if he’d sought professional help? Maybe he did; maybe the full book carries more detail.

More cases of footballers talking about their problems are occurring which is no bad thing. The more honesty there is may encourage others to seek help. It may not but when ‘role models’ and people in the public eye talk about these issues in a calm way, without sensationalism, it empowers others to do the same.

Even if helps one person, it’s a step forward.

The Business of Football

Another interesting side story is how his move to Arsenal fell through. Having agreed to a move to Portsmouth, David Dein interceded and Carrick met with Wenger during the weekend of the 2004 Community Shield. Interviewed him, as Carrick puts it, as if it were for a job in the civil service.

All in Wenger’s living room!

The deal fell through. In ninety minutes in Cardiff, Cesc Fabregas convinced Wenger he didn’t need Carrick. No qualms with that decision; it’s a no-brainer. Only later would we have benefited from his calm defensive work.

The episode gives an interesting insight into how football works and I don’t think Arsenal are unique in that. Carrick waited for a phone call which never came at the appointed hour. Or if it did, his agent didn’t tell him.

But it’s similar to the tale Antoine Griezmann relayed. How different might events have been had we followed up on our interest as he departed Real Sociedad. We didn’t; we left him hanging and bitter.

Like every club, Arsenal has an impressive XI of ‘nearly signed’ players. Not just in the Wenger era, but down through the years. I doubt we’ll be any different going forward. Priming a player and then taking up a shiny new model from somewhere else. It’s the nature of the beast. 

Is it any different from the ‘real world’? Do football clubs act any better, worse or even different from businesses in the recruitment process? Seemingly not, if you ignore the scouting aspect of a signing.

We had the last laugh for a couple of years with Carrick. He ended up at Tottenham. Pop round to ours for dinner, Michael. Lasagne ok with you?

Proper Arsenal News!

It’s a pretty at the moment, with Bernd Leno’s call-up to the German squad the most noteworthy news. Will that change during the next week? I’d be happy if everyone flew under the radar and then flew home.

Liverpool and Manchester United are squabbling over who will sign Aaron Ramsey for nothing next summer. And Arsene Wenger is going to take a break from collecting awards for just long enough to take over as PSG director of football.

’til Tomorrow.

13 thoughts on “Football & Depression, and A Bit More

  1. Fizzle

    Nature v nuture, endogenous v acquired, innate v reactive. Depression has many guises, and probably more than those, since it’s quite some years since I did any studies.
    There are many proposed mechanisms that don’t quite account for the sum of the whole… a bit like football formations, there’s no single size fits all.
    I am so impressed and proud of the Arsenal academy in this regard. They seem to have a holistic approach to youth, and even those that don’t make the footballing grade are given some preparation for the Real world.
    Good post Yogi. Coz theres f all else to do. (Oy)

  2. Know it might be unpopular but I think Carrick would have been the type of replacement for Gilberto Silva when he left. It happens, he didn’t so o well.

  3. Indeed, C.

    However, at the time we went for him, Gilberto was a far better option and once he signed for Spurs, that was a ship which sailed.

  4. YW,

    So true, so very true.

    I actually think than needing a Vieira, we have lacked what Gilberto brought way much more. We finally have it in Torriera, but Carrick was a miss for both Arsenal and your England.

  5. C,

    Even the teams he signed for (I guess England count too) missed out on him. Always seemed to have a sexier alternative to compete with. No wonder he developed a negative self image. Never look at beauty magazines, they’ll only make you feel ugly.

  6. ferkov,

    Exactly but sometimes even when it all looks bad for the ugly duckling, it all sort of works out in the end and it did for Carrick(well his coaching career hasn’t been much fun) falling and becoming central to Fergie reign over England: 5 PL titles, 1 CL, 1 EL, 1 FIBA club world cup, 1 FA Cup and a couple EFL/Footbal League Cups is not a bad haul for the ugly duckling that England, Cesc and Arsene’s Arsenal didn’t want.

  7. Ghosted autobiographies tend to overlook some of the rougher edges. There are two sides to every story.

    I heard that Mr Carrick was a piece of work out on the town in London. He liked a drink and liked telling people how good he was. Maybe he matured and settled down?

    The version I heard about Arsenal not signing him was due to his excessive drinking and poor behaviour. That doesn’t sell any books though…

  8. ferkov:

    Even the teams he signed for (I guess England count too) missed out on him. Always seemed to have a sexier alternative to compete with. No wonder he developed a negative self image. Never look at beauty magazines, they’ll only make you feel ugly.

    Baz Lurhman

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