Clarke Carlisle opens up about suicide attempt

Former footballer Clarke Carlisle outside his home in Cattal, York
Former footballer Clarke Carlisle outside his home in Cattal, York

Former Leyland schoolboy and Preston North End footballer Clarke Carlisle has told how he made the decision that he “had to die” after being charged with a drink-driving offence, and later jumped into the path of an oncoming lorry.

The 35-year-old, a former Professional Footballers’ Association chairman who attended Balshaw’s CE High School when he was younger, was seriously injured on the A64, near York, in December.

In an interview with a national paper, he has spoken of how he felt taking his own life would be “the perfect answer” to problems he was facing.

The news that he was to lose his job as a pundit on ITV, three years after he was released by Burnley, caused Carlisle to go on a gambling spree and hours later he was charged with a drink-driving offence of failing to provide a sample.

He told the Sun: “I had to die. This wasn’t escaping or running away. This was the perfect answer.

“It made everyone happy and it ticked every box. I took two steps into the road and then jumped into the truck, like a full shoulder charge.

“I can remember that impact. Bang. Then lights out.

“I don’t know how long had passed. It must have been a few minutes.”

The former Premier League player spent six weeks in hospital after the incident, and was released on Friday.

He said his time in hospital made him realise he was “incredibly unwell”.

“I ventured out of my room not as Clarke the ex-footballer, but as Clarke, a mental health patient. That was the first step in my road to recovery.”

Taking to Twitter, Carlisle’s wife Gemma wrote: “We send our love and thoughts to the lorry driver and family.

“It could have been anyone and Clarke is desperately sorry that it was him.

“Suicide and depression is not selfish. It’s a serious illness where your world and reality are warped.”

Carlisle, who is now undergoing counselling, was due to appear at Highbury Magistrates’ Court in north London last month to face the drink-driving charge, but the hearing was adjourned to a later date.