Former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carrol has opened up about his struggles with depression and alcoholism, admitting he ‘would have died from the drink’ had he not stopped.
The 43-year old played 72 times for United between 2001 and 2005 but says he struggled mentally after suffering a back injury that kept him out of action while at West Ham in 2006.
The veteran goalkeeper, who now plies his trade for Dungannon Swifts in Northern Ireland, has spoken about his past battle with alcoholism and depression after that injury: “I’d never had a long injury before and slowly but surely I was getting into a deeper hole. I wasn’t mentally prepared for it,” he told the Daily Mail.
“I was just in a dark room and drinking heavily. I had no outside help. Nobody knew what was wrong with me because I never spoke about it. Everybody thought I was the happiest guy in the world but I would go home, shut the door and bang my head against the wall, have a few drinks to try and forget.”
“For me, it was getting rid of the depression. You’d have loads to drink and forget about it. The next day it got worse and you’re back on the drink. It doesn’t work. I went into rehab because others wanted me to: my wife, my agent and my friends. I didn’t see there was anything wrong with me, that was my biggest problem.”
Carroll left West Ham in 2007, and continued to struggle with alcohol during spells at Rangers, Derby County and Odense. When he left the Danish club in 2011, the goalkeeper admitted that his drinking spiralled out of control: “I had a lot of time on my hands, my drinking was crazy. If I hadn’t stopped, I wouldn’t be here today. I don’t feel my body would have held up to it. I was never at that stage where I would have killed myself. I was quite lucky I wasn’t that far ahead. But I would have died from the drink.”
Carroll revealed that he had a ‘lightbulb’ moment ten years ago however, as he was living alone in Canary Wharf, separated from his wife and two kids. For the past decade he has been sober.
As well as featuring for Dungannon, the former Red Devils shot stopper now runs a goalkeeping school for children and has recently been drafted into the Northern Ireland international set up as a goalkeeping coach for the World Cup qualifying break.