Former Chesterfield coach Mark Crossley on life without football for the first time in 32 years

Former Chesterfield coach Mark Crossley has spoken about his experience of not being involved in football for the first time in 32 years.

Saturday, 28th March 2020, 2:05 pm

The 50-year-old was the Blues’ goalkeeping coach until manager John Sheridan was sacked on January 2 with the Spireites third bottom of the National League and five points from safety.

Crossley’s father Geoff, 77, was diagnosed with bladder cancer the same month.

“Coming out of football, which I was fortunate to have been in since I was 17, without a break, and then with my dad, who is like my best mate, getting ill, you start to get a bit down,” Crossley told The Times.

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The former Nottingham Forest stopper said it made him think about his old mate Gary Speed, who took his own life in 2011.

“When you think a bit deeper about it, I think everyone has issues with it (depression) at different times in life,” Crossley said.

“I’m not saying I’ve ever suffered like that. But for someone like me, who has been told where to be and when to be there; what to eat, when to eat it; what time the coach leaves, what time we get there; what time we go for a walk; when we eat pre-match — it’s like the army, you’re regimented. And 32 years of that trains the brain. Then, all of a sudden, you don’t know what day it is.”

Anyone who follows Crossley on Twitter will know he is a big fan of walking because… “walking is brilliant,” he tells his 26,000 fans almost every day.

Former Chesterfield coach Mark Crossley is out of football for the first time in 32 years.

His videos have inspired many to get out walking and he has received lots of messages from people saying he has encouraged them to open up about their mental health.

Crossley, who appears to have come to terms with life without football, added: “When you’re involved in it, football makes the world go round. Everybody in your life has to plan around you. Now, it’s time for that to change. Start thinking about other people, family. And when strangers — and it is mainly people who’ve had mental health issues — are getting in touch saying that you’re inspiring them, how can you not take some satisfaction?”