Man Utd’s Luke Chadwick’s heartbreaking admission after TV abuse over his looks

He was hailed as one of the bright young stars of Alex Ferguson's glory days at Manchester United – but when Luke Chadwick was thrust into the spotlight he found it came at a terrible price.

Just 18 when he made his debut in the senior squad in 2000 after spending two year's in the club's academy, there were high hopes for the young winger.

The former winger, who remained with the club until 2004, quickly became the butt of a raft of jokes because of his looks.

Nick Hancock, presenter of the sport quiz show They Think It's All Over, would regularly reference Chadwick's appearance – and both the audience and the teams taking part would lap it up.

Earlier this year Chadwick, now a coach at his home town club of Cambridge, opened up earlier this year about the devastating impact the comments had on him as a teenager.

He told the BBC: "In the end, it lowers your self-esteem a lot. That's all I'm known for and spoken about – the way I looked. That isn't right."

"I wouldn't want to go out. I was always looking at people. People knew who I was because I played for Manchester United and I always assumed they'd be saying horrible things.

"Being a quiet, nervous boy anyway, it sort of intensified that and maybe stunted my growth as a person."

Following Chadwick's heartbreaking comments, former host Hancock said he was "appalled" his comments had had such an impact on the player.

He said: "When I hear him speaking I’m full of admiration for the present Luke Chadwick and full of sympathy for the young Luke Chadwick.

"I feel a great deal of responsibility and shame, which I do have to hold my hands up to. We should have been thinking about the person. In terms of mental health, nobody should expected Luke to have called us on it."

Match Of The Day host Gary Lineker, who regularly appeared on They Think It's All Over, also publicly apologised to Chadwick.

He tweeted: "I was part of that show, therefore, I too would like to apologise to Luke Chadwick for any hurt caused."

Chadwick, who was also battling depression at the time, went on to make 39 appearances for United, scored twice and won two Premier League winners' medals.

When he moved on to smaller clubs, including West Ham, Stoke City and Norwich City, the player admitted he found life easier as being out of the public eye he was subjected to much less abuse.

Speaking to  Dagbladet, he said: “To get it on national TV and in the media, I didn’t know how to deal with it. I thought there was something wrong with me.

“It affected me so much, and I was too embarrassed to say anything against them. I kept everything on the inside and never said how I was doing at the time."

And during his time in the limelight, the footballer would pray his face didn't appear on TV.

He said: "My stomach twisted. I felt so bad and depressed."

Chadwick is now using his experiences to urge others in his position to get help as soon as possible.

He explained: "Do not do what I did. Talk to someone. It’s so hard, because if someone had said that to me when I was 19, I do not think I would have done it.

"The burden that falls off your shoulders makes it all worth it."

For help with mental health issues

  • CALM,, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together,
  • Mind,, 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans,

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