Marvin Sordell Attempted Suicide During Bolton Days

  • September 13, 2018 | By Chris Mann
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Former Bolton forward Marvin Sordell has revealed he attempted to take his own life in August 2013 by taking an overdose of tablets.

Sordell, who joined Wanderers in a £3million transfer from Watford in January 2012, struggled for opportunities during his time at the club - scoring eight goals in 29 appearances - before departing for Burnley in the summer of 2014.

Given tags such as 'lazy', 'disinterested' and 'waste of money' during his time with the Trotters, the now 27-year-old has opened up about a history of depression - which has prompted him to become a writer - and how he was unsuccessful in a suicide attempt when on loan at Charlton Athletic five years ago.

"I said I'm missing my friends and family," Sordell told The Guardian. "But I told them I still wanted to be there because playing football was all I wanted to do.

"The moment you go onto the pitch the depression disappears. But the problems were getting worse because I wasn't being picked. I had no release.

"That led me to me being more downtrodden, more disappointed. I've always been hard on myself and I'm not generally confident. As I've grown older I've got better - but when I was younger, without a support network, it felt cold and lonely. I felt stuck.

"I have to say this because it's important. Without naming names, at one of my clubs I was also seeing a doctor. She recommended I go to the Priory to recover properly. I said, 'I don’t think you realise what I do for a living. It's not possible to leave a football club for a few weeks. They paid good money to sign me. They pay me good money, so I can't just go. But I'll ask them.'

"I didn't end up doing so. I wasn't sure how they would react to me needing to go to the Priory and then, not long after, my mum phoned. She said someone from the club had called. They told her I was thinking of going to the Priory but the message was clear. 'You can't do that. You must focus on football.' I don't know how they knew. I was shocked.

"I was learning to play the piano and cook creatively. I was spending my free time being expressive. I would post interesting images on Instagram. It seemed better than going to bars every day. And he said to my mum I must stop playing the piano, stop cooking and focus on football. I thought: 'Playing the piano is productive. I have to cook to eat. How can this be bad for my football?' But that was their mentality towards me. People saw an attitude problem because I didn't banter with the players and coaches. When I got home I often sat in the dark.

"It's difficult in this industry to be honest without it coming back to bite you. Once I was told I was going on loan regardless of what I wanted. I was told to take a pay cut, and if I stayed the circumstances would be a lot worse than if I left. I didn't speak to the manager - he spoke to my agent. I tried to see the positives because it's a fresh start, an opportunity to play football.

"On one occasion, I tried to overdose on tablets. I took all these tablets and went to sleep. It didn't work, thankfully. When I woke up I was shocked, annoyed. Some people would say, in that situation, they feel born again. I just thought: 'What now?'

"I was so drained. People think I should be fine. I'd played at the Olympics and the European Under-21 Championship. Played in the Premier League. On good money. But it didn't feel like that.

"I went to training the day after. I didn't tell anyone. The first time anybody really understood was when I sent my book to my friends, my mum, my sister and my wife. The only person who knew I was struggling was my wife. But when she read the book she said: 'I didn't know it was that bad.'

"Until I started writing I struggled to express my emotions. So my wife said: 'That’s enough. You need to see this [psychiatrist].' I went to see her and broke down. Even I didn't understand it until then. I'd thought: 'I'm just annoyed because I'm not playing. It's nothing.' But it felt like layers and layers were coming away until I was left with a real open version of myself.

"I was at breaking point. But I reached a stage where I stopped taking it. I felt so numb on medication.

"I felt dead inside for a long time - and writing gave me a way to get emotions out. I have no idea where I would've gone, where I would've spiralled to, if not for writing. I probably wouldn't be playing football. I'd heard too many people saying, 'He's too difficult or miserable.' It's different now. Finishing the book became a way to own my story. It felt liberating."

Going through similar issues? Call the Samaritans UK helpline on 116 123, or email

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