As part of the Youth team's educational programme, and in conjunction with the LFE (League Football Education), representatives from the Sporting Chance Clinic spoke about the problems of drink and drugs abuse.

Sporting Chance, the brainchild of former Arsenal and England Captain Tony Adams, provides support and counseling for the destructive behavior patterns that can exist in the world of competitive sport.

Director of Training and Education Chris Mordue, who spoke to The Saddlers' Under-18s, was an alcoholic and drug addict.

But with the help of Sporting Chance he has turned his life around.

He said: "Going out to professional football clubs and talking about these issues can only be a good thing.

"In my experience a lot of young lads do not feel comfortable talking about what goes on under the surface and the pressures they face.

"Add to that the possibility of becoming a professional sportsperson and these youngsters have a lot to deal with.

"We talk about awareness of addiction and highlight lifestyle choices and the warning signs of addictive behaviour.

"We talk from a position of experience and I think that helps. The lads at Walsall were first class. They were engaging, and spoke with confidence, which is a good reflection on the culture at the club.

"With the continued support of the Professional Footballers' Association and LFE, we hope have a presence in every professional football club by the end of next season.

"That said, the fact the Walsall FC invited us to give this talk shows the club's commitment to providing a rounded education for their youngsters."

Head of Youth Dean Smith said: "It was an extremely interesting meeting.

"It showed the lads the pitfalls of addiction. Professional footballers have a profile and with that comes responsibility.

"Discipline is vitally important but, with the money footballers can earn and the additional spare time they have on their hands, those with an addictive personality may well choose the wrong path.

"Andrew Brownrigg, who I played with at Hereford, was also present and spoke at length to the lads. He was a highly promising player who earned a move to Norwich.

"He was admitted to Sporting Chance Clinic and was treated for addictive-related problems. When I was his team-mate, I never knew he had a problem.

"It was important that the lads got to hear the thoughts of both Chris and Andy, people who have battled against addiction and have come out the other end."

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