Young Footballer Killed Himself After Being Rejected By Spurs

14/08/2014 16:55 | Updated 22 May 2015

Young footballer killed himself after being rejected by Spurs

A talented young striker became so depressed after failing to make the grade as a professional footballer that he eventually killed himself.

An inquest was told that 26-year-old Josh Lyons was left 'feeling like a failure' after his contract wasn't re-newed by his beloved Tottenham Hotspur when he was 16.

He went on to play for lower league Crawley Town, but was dropped at 18.

It affected him deeply, causing him to suffer from anxiety and years of depression.

The inquest heard that Josh, from Crawley, East Sussex, ended his life on a railway line near Ifield West Sussex after telling his parents he was going for a run in March this year.

Horsham assistant deputy coroner Karen Henderson criticised the sport saying that professional clubs should do more to support young footballers.

She said: "It was that pivotal point that crushed a young man's life and all the dreams that go with it.

"That one moment I find was the single most important factor that led to the events that ended up on the train tracks. It is very difficult to build up the hopes of a young man only then to have them dashed at a young age. It is very cruel.

"I find there was an absence and lack of support in football."

The inquest heard how Josh started his junior career with Wimbledon, before being spotted by Spurs.

After the rejection he sunk into depression, and had to come home from travelling in Thailand because he felt so unwell.

In 2008 he visited a GP saying that he had been having thoughts of suicide. He was referred to a counsellor and was treated with medication and therapy for four years.

Speaking after the inquest his devastated father Liam, 57, said: "By playing for Spurs, who he supported, Josh was fulfilling every boy's dream. But he was released after three years and it was a massive blow to his self-esteem and self-confidence.

"Josh felt as though he was a failure."

Spurs also offered their condolences to the family, and said that more is now being done to support players who don't make the grade.

A spokesman said: "Club support mechanisms have evolved considerably in the past decade.

"We place a strong emphasis on creating a safe environment where our players are able to discuss any kind of issue with academy staff as well as employing a strong pastoral team to work with our coaches and host families in terms of caring for our young players.

"We also fully support Premier League workshops that promote positive mental health and encourage emotional well-being.

"The club is committed to giving support to youngsters beyond their playing time with us, assisting in planning for their futures by offering support and advice in terms of further education, vocational work or even in helping them to try and find a new club.

"We are deeply saddened to hear of Josh's passing and extend our sincerest condolences to his family and friends."


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