The Mariner | Jason Stockwood’s Notes vs Accrington Stanley

Read Jason Stockwood’s notes from the Accrington Stanley programme.

Welcome to Blundell Park for today’s game against Accrington Stanley. Special welcome to those that have made the trip over the Pennines to be here for the game.

In the world of football, where the roar of the crowd and the thrill of victory often take centre stage, it’s essential to remember that sometimes there are bigger things to consider. Today, we come together as a football community to shine a light on an issue that affects us all – mental health.

In our partnership with navigo and the naming of their dementia unit to Tees House in honour of our famous son, Matt Tees, on World Mental Health Day, we pay tribute to a football legend who battled dementia in the latter stages of his life. Matt Tees was not only one of our best-ever players but also a reminder that even our heroes are not immune to the challenges of mental health.

Recent research from Sweden has shed light on a startling fact – footballers are one and a half times more likely to suffer from diseases like dementia. This underscores the need for further research and, more importantly, the need for support for those who have entertained and inspired us over the years.

Football isn’t just about the physical risks of playing the game. It’s about the incredible pressure that staff, players, and management of football clubs face, especially when the going gets tough. We have a duty of care to all our colleagues, and we are committed to supporting our team in every possible way. Opinions are an integral part of the game, but when they tip over into hostility from some supporters, we must ask ourselves what might be going on in the lives of those shouting too aggressively from the stands or venting their frustrations (usually anonymously) online. How can we extend our hand to those who feel trapped, lonely, angry, or hurt by life and their own circumstances?

Mental health is a topic that knows no boundaries. It touches the lives of everyone in our country, and my own family has not been immune. My grandfather tragically took his own life in the 1950s, and I have two close friends who lost their brothers to suicide. Grimsby, unfortunately has one of the highest male suicide rates for towns in the UK. It is a harsh reality that we cannot ignore.

Today, we can take a step forward. We can start a conversation – one that may be difficult, uncomfortable, and challenging. But it’s a conversation that can literally save lives. By coming together as a football community and addressing mental health openly and honestly, we can be a beacon of hope for our community.

So, as you enjoy the beautiful game today, remember that there are bigger things than football. Reach out, support one another, and let’s tackle mental health together. Because it all starts with a conversation.

Thanks and UTM



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