Former Spurs star and England international Dele Alli has opened up about his turbulent last few years in football, mental health struggles and difficult childhood, tragically revealing that he was sexually abused as a six-year-old.
Speaking in an exclusive on the latest episode of Gary Neville’s The Overlap, Alli said that “now is the right time to talk” about all of the issues he has been struggling with both personally and professionally in recent times, as well as historically, in what proved to be a very tough chat for both of them.
Writing on social media, Neville confessed that he lost for words after speaking to the one-time elite Premier League player once considered among the best young talents in Europe, urging people to “please watch” as “it’s the most emotional, difficult yet inspirational conversation I’ve ever had in my life.”
Even in sharing just a short trailer on Twitter, you can see that both Alli and his former England coach broke into tears as they discussed trauma, addiction, depression and more.
As the 27-year-old detailed in the tell-all talk, “At six I was molested by my mum’s friend who was at the house a lot” and that his biological “mum was an alcoholic”.
He explained how the trauma and being “sent to Africa to learn discipline”, only to be ultimately “sent back” to that same environment, led him to admit himself into a rehabilitation facility in the US and start dealing with his wounds.
During a six-week stay, Dele faced up to other seriously damaging childhood experiences, including taking up smoking aged just seven, starting to sell drugs at eight and being “hung off a bridge by a man” when he was only 11.
He went on to add that even after being adopted by an “amazing family” at the age of 12, he struggled to let go of the memories and the feelings that went along with them.
Naturally, after discussing such a variety of difficult subjects, both Alli and Neville eventually broke into tears, with the pundit and commentator doing his best to put an arm around him and a much-needed shoulder to cry on.
Alli also revealed how he had been struggling with a sleeping pill addiction for the last couple of years, taking them “during the day” and sometimes even as “early as 11 in the morning” not only to help him rest (fairly common in professional football) but to “just escape”.
In addition to “partying a lot” during the period when he was dropped and called “lazy” by Jose Mourinho at Spurs, he said his reliance on substances became evident and his family were left “crying asking for [him] to tell them what’s wrong”. He even said he debated retiring at the age of just 24.
This, sadly, doesn’t even scratch the surface of the topics they discussed — depression, the pressures of being a footballer and public figure, media treatment and more. You can watch Gary Neville’s The Overlap interview with Dele in full down below:
For anyone struggling with mental health, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Samaritans on 116 123, text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258, contact the NHS on 101 or, if it’s an emergency, call 999 immediately.
You can also find helpful resources regarding sexual abuse support HERE.
Featured Image — The Overlap/Sky Bet (via YouTube)
Manchester Storm offering cut-price tickets for blockbuster quarter-final against Sheffield
Local ice hockey starts Manchester Storm are taking a hit to their own pocket in an effort to help fans get to as many games as possible this winter by offering cut-price tickets to their upcoming Challenge Cup quarter-final on Thursday, 7 December.
As their exciting 2023/24 campaign continues, the Storm have found themselves amidst a run of home games in the space of a week and besides the test the players are now facing, they also know it presents a challenge to Manchester ice hockey fans who want don’t want to miss any of the action.
That being said, as they prepare to face league leaders Sheffield Steelers in the quarters this week in Altrincham, the Manc skaters have decided to reduce the cost of tickets across the board to pack out their barn as best they can.
It’s sure to be an electric night and a busy month at the Storm Shelter.
With the big fixture looming, the Trafford-based team are looking to continue their impressive turnouts so far this year and this cut-price rate will certainly help keep that trend going.
Notching the price of adult admission down by a fiver to just £18, the concession prices to just £15 and children tickets to a mere tenner for this highly-anticipated match-up, the Storm Support will no doubt be in full force even on a random Thursday night.
General sale is never that expensive to begin with and the local venue has been one of the most affordable and accessible places to watch live sport in Greater Manchester, but discounts like these make it an even better way to spend an evening midweek.
The home team head into the Challenge Cup quarter-final against the high-flying Yorkshiremen following a 4-3 loss to the Glasgow Clanand will face off against the Fife Flyers just two days later before back-to-back away trips to Belfast in the league on 15 and 16 December.
In just 10 competitive games across all competitions at home this season, Manchester Storm have welcomed over 18,700 supporters through the doors of the Storm Shelter, a.k.a. Planet Ice over in Alty.
With two sellout games already this campaign and plenty of others close to capacity no matter the day of the week, their 60% increase in season ticket sales alone shows just how fast the fan base is growing.
Doors for Storm vs Steelers this Thursday, 7 December open at 6:30pm with the face-off set for 7:30pm — let’s get behind our lads, you lot!
Club de Padel – The world’s fastest-growing sport is finally coming to Manchester this month
The world’s fastest-growing sport is finally about to arrive in Manchester – and in a seriously impressive location.
Club de Padel is taking shape at the foot of the Deansgate Square skyscrapers and has officially locked in a launch date.
With four state-of-the-art panoramic courts, the new sports club will be bringing the global sports phenomenon to the city centre for the first time.
It will also have one of the city’s most popular brunch spots and coffee shops, Federal, on site to provide caffeine, snacks, and a selection of drinks in the evenings.
For those unfamiliar, Padel is a mash-up of tennis and squash, where players are enclosed by walls and can play the ball off any wall.
The sport was first invented in Mexico in the late 1960s but has exploded in popularity across Europe in recent years, drawing legions of famous fans.
Andy Murray, David Beckham, Pep Guardiola and Serena Williams have all declared themselves fans, and Lionel Messi went so far as to install a Padel court at his home.
Co-founder James Wigglesworth says: “We can’t get over the support we’ve had from the city so far, our inbox hasn’t stopped with people asking when we’re opening, when they can book, how they can learn to play – it’s been great.
“We’ve also discovered a hardcore element of ‘paddicts’ who travel miles every week to play and are just delighted that we’re landing on their doorstep.”
Club de Padel is partnering with Adidas and HEAD on its equipment and will have one of the UK’s top padel competitors, Alberto Cubero Torregrosa, as head coach.
Alberto said: “I can’t wait to get started at Club de Padel. Having grown up in Malaga, I have been playing padel for over 25 years, so I’m delighted to see it finally arrive in Manchester, where I now call home.
“It is important to me that everyone can enjoy this amazing sport, so it doesn’t matter if you are a complete beginner or an experienced player, I am committed to helping you improve and have fun while doing it.”
Club de Padel will officially open its doors on Tuesday 19 December, with bookings open from 5 December for Padel+ members and general public bookings from 12 December.