Michael Thalassitis tribute by former Stevenage captain Mark Roberts

PUBLISHED: 13:33 21 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:45 21 March 2019

Tributes have been pouring in for late Michael Thalassitis

Tributes have been pouring in for late Michael Thalassitis

Archant

Former Stevenage captain Mark Roberts pays tribute to his ex-colleague Michael Thalassitis, who died at the age of 26 at the weekend, and reminds those who are struggling that they are not alone.

Michael Thalassitis scored six goals for the Saints in 13 league starts. Picture: Leigh PageMichael Thalassitis scored six goals for the Saints in 13 league starts. Picture: Leigh Page

This is very difficult for me to write. It was also difficult for me to share – but I’m doing this to raise awareness and pay my absolute respect to my former teammate Michael and his family.

The last thing that I would want is to seem like I’m piggybacking on a family’s devastation after a tragic event.

Michael Thalassitis, left, and Luke Freeman celebrate the consolation goal. Photo: Keith DobneyMichael Thalassitis, left, and Luke Freeman celebrate the consolation goal. Photo: Keith Dobney

Michael, who I played with at Stevenage took his life this weekend.

From the outside it looked as if he was living the dream

Michael Thalassitis and Louie Theophanous have been on hot form in recent weeks. Picture: BOB WALKLEYMichael Thalassitis and Louie Theophanous have been on hot form in recent weeks. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

No longer a footballer ‘Thala’ was catapulted into the social media stratosphere when he appeared on reality TV show Love Island.

Our paths did not cross since the time we were teammates but I did reach out to him following his exit from the show to tell him how proud of him I was.

Michael Thalassitis wheels away after scoring during his time at St Albans City. Picture: Bob WakeleyMichael Thalassitis wheels away after scoring during his time at St Albans City. Picture: Bob Wakeley

He still called me ‘skip’ and wished me and my family well.

Mike, your life may have changed overnight but your values remained the same. You were a thoughtful and respectful young man.

Michael Thalassitis has now got four in three for St Albans City. Picture: BOB WALKLEYMichael Thalassitis has now got four in three for St Albans City. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

The bundle of infectious energy and enthusiasm that every dressing room needs and one that I was personally drawn towards.

You were the type of young lad I was desperate to see succeed.

Michael Thalassitis prepares to fire the Saints into the lead. Picture: LEIGH PAGEMichael Thalassitis prepares to fire the Saints into the lead. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

I can’t pretend to know him as closely as others but I wish he could have found the right person to open up to and share exactly what it was he going through.

Perhaps he did but his decision was already made. I was shocked and saddened when I heard the awful news.

Michael Thalassitis has a shot a goal. picture: LEIGH PAGEMichael Thalassitis has a shot a goal. picture: LEIGH PAGE

As a father my heart aches for his family because no-one will ever fill the hole that he leaves.

Men in the UK aged between aged between 20 and 49 are more likely to die from suicide than any other cause.

I would never pretend I have all the answers but I would hope that through my work with athletes means that if someone else is in trouble they could turn to me for support.

If you are someone who is struggling, then please do not suffer in silence. There are people who are willing, able and ready to help.

You are not alone.

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