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Ellerby: “Eccleshill gave me a lifeline after trying to take my own life in September!”

Mens Mental Health has again been in the headlines with it being Mental Health Awareness week. The Period of awareness runs from 14th to the 20th May 2018 and is backed by a number of agencies including the Mental Health Foundation, Mens Health Forum and The PFA who have been strong recent advocates of Men’s health issues in the football industry in particular.

As part of our insight into this very important subject, The Bootiful Game has this week spoken with Chris Ellerby who is Eccleshill United’s Head of Player Development and Recruitment. Chris has experienced issues at first hand and has been through a traumatic personal mental health battle which included trying to take his own life, three times in one day. His Eccleshill side have recently been promoited via the play-offs and look set to have a strong campaign in the NECL Premier Division next season.

So we started by asking Chris about the game on Saturday which sealed United’s promotion and then discussed a number of issues including his hopes for next season and his own battle with Mental Health Issues.

“Saturday was a decent game, certainly a decent result, it was a game that swang both ways from the off but I thought we started really well and I think we were playing exceptionally up until the injury, after that Grimsby were the better side but we were able to dig deep. At the end of the celebrations rather than go out with the lads on Saturday I went for a meal at a hotel in Leeds with the Missus.

“As far as the season goes, it’s been a bit of a strange one for me personally, last summer I decided I wasn’t going to be involved in football and that I was going to take a year out but then Sean (Regan, Eccleshill United manager) got in touch with me just after the season had started and I was on holiday, but I agreed to come along and get involve in some capacity.

“It’s been good though, I look at myself personally when I reached a point where I felt I was going to take my own life seven months ago, and the fact that I have had that involvement in football has helped me massively and going from hating football, to just not wanting to be here in general to the fact that football has played a part in helping my recovery. The lads have been great and they have been helping me but actually finishing the season in such a good place but being part of taking the club back up has been amazing.

“The club have been great with me, they were patient with me in my recovery and were keen for me to get back involved and it has just been a rollercoaster of a season.

“There are fine margins for success, the manner in which we went up was nervy and tense and a couple of points in that game our season was over. After the Yorkshire Amateur defeat, I wanted the lads to listen to their celebrations and said they needed to make sure that come a week on Saturday it was them who were celebrating and chanting.

“I may have been viewed as quite stern that previous week but when that final whistle went on Saturday there was no-one happier than me for the club, I don’t really show emotion but I was right in the mix to the point where I somehow ended up at the bottom of a ten man pile on! It was a special few days, it really has.

“Where the future lies, well I had a chat with the Chairman a few weeks ago and I said to him that I would stay involved as long as the club wanted me to be there. I’ve always maintained that if the right opportunity came up to take on a Gaffers Job again that I would consider it, but like I said, its more than just my ambitions, I am part of something here and I wouldn’t turn my back on the club. Eccleshill United are ambitious, they have plans and I know where I fall into that and where I can help. We have already started planning for next season and we have targets in mind in terms of players and we are already part-way down the line in getting those lads in, we may not need much but we just need to bring in that extra bit of quality for the new campaign, so yeah as much as many people think that we have a break, this is where we arguably are most busy trying to lock in the new players and hit the ground running for the new season.

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