EXCLUSIVE: Former A-League star Chad Gibson has thrown his support behind au.fourfourtwo.com's push for a Beyond Blue A-League round following the tragic death of Gary Speed.
Speed, 42, was found hanged overnight and his death shocked fans, players and those who knew him.
The Wales manager and father of two, who coached against the Socceroos last August in a 2-1 loss to the Aussies, enjoyed a long and successful playing career in the EPL at Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United.
Gibson, 34, now retired from the A-League following two years at Queensland Roar from 2005 to 2007, has reinvented himself.
He has reinvigorated his love for football and has been working hard behind the scenes to put back into the game via a program called MyCareer.
In conjunction with project coordinator Glenn Wary of the FFA, Gibson recently spoke with all the A-League clubs and the Matildas about life after football.
We understand the program was a success particularly as it came from a former player. Within the program mental health issues were also raised.
The former Roar defender has long supported the idea of a Beyond Blue A-League round saying the macho image of football is generally not conducive to expressing certain issues.
“A Beyond Blue Round should be a high priority,” he told au.fourfourtwo.com. “The tragic death of Gary Speed – and your heart goes out to his family – it just shows everyone needs help.
"Gary Speed had what some would call the perfect life. Let us be a trendsetter, a beacon if you will, to prevent these things happening in the future.”
Beyond Blue is a national depression initiative that provides information about depression to consumers, carers and health professionals (www.beyondblue.org.au)
Gibson was a friend and former team-mate of the late Tyler Simpson, who died of an apparent suicide earlier this year.
“That was my saddest day in football,” Gibson said of the funeral of the one-time Glory and Roar player, who died at just 26 years of age.
Simpson was on the books of Blacktown City in the NSW Premier League when he passed away. Former SBS commentator Paul Williams also took his own life in a fit of tragic despair two years ago.
“Tyler just made you smile," said Gibson. "We were all there for Tyler and he wouldn’t have known how many were there for him. At his funeral it was just a sad day...
“If something like this [an A-League Beyond Blue Round] was around, it may’ve been a different story.
“The football family is just that, a family, and we need to care for each other and our community.”
Gibson also said the banter and friendship in the dressing room during a football career can often be hard to transition from, once football is over.
He added: “As males we all kinda sometimes have to put on this ‘uniform’ to say we’re strong and it’s not okay to talk out.
"It’s difficult to talk about these things and it’s considered weak for fear of losing your
“Prevention is the main thing. Let’s make a difference... let’s not have a death like Gary Speed’s... let’s make our game be a vehicle for change."
:: If issues raised in this story affect you, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636
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