Sport Soccer

Thursday 12 December 2019

Former member of Wimbledon's 'crazy gang' Paul McGee reveals his battle with depression

Paul McGee pictured during his Wimbledon days
Paul McGee pictured during his Wimbledon days

Once a member of the 'crazy gang' at Wimbledon, Dubliner Paul McGee revealed how he became depressed after retiring from football.

McGee is battling back from depression a year after he was admitted to the psychiatric unit at Connolly Hospital in Dublin.

He famously scored on his debut against Arsenal in Highbury in May 1989, a goal which would have cost the Gunners the title had it not been for Michael Thomas' injury time strike at Anfield.

The 45-year-old told the Irish Daily Star: "My depression was really serious. I just didn't want to be here anymore. I really struggled.

"It was down to football basically. It was my life. I played since I was six-and-a-half and then I played professional football after signing for Bohs in the 80s.

"I played for Wimbledon, Peterborough, Linfield, Boh's again, Athlone and Pats - it had been my life.

"When I retired I did many different jobs. I'd say it was around 38 or 39 when the depression really started to hit me. I was in on myself, I wasn't talking, I wasn't going out, I wasn't getting up and I wasn't doing anything.

"I was in a very lonely place. I distanced myself from my friends, even my mother saw it in me. I wasn't the usual, jovial Paul McGee.

"I knew there was something wrong. I knew there was a switch after clicking.

"I wasn't on drugs or I wasn't drinking myself to death, I just wasn't expressing myself anymore. I was going further and further into a deep hole."

Thankfully Paul has managed to tun his life around and lined out in Prague last week for the Ireland Masters team and it was former Rovers and Pats star Mark O'Neill and ex-Hoops striker Mick Byrne who reached out to him.

"Even though I was playing with the lads, I was still in that place where I was good but not 'good, good'," he added.

"They took me into their home and brought me to a clinic. The doctor sent me down to James Connolly to the psychiatric unit.

"I'll have been there for a year in October. I go every couple of months and they do tremendous work."

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