GREG HALFORD has bravely revealed the details of his autism diagnosis.
The Premier League cult hero held back tears as he explained he is on the spectrum.
Greg Halford bravely opened up on his autism diagnosis[/caption]
He held back tears as he opened up on his diagnosis[/caption]
Halford added that he had never told anyone in football about his diagnosis.
Appearing on the Undr The Cosh podcast, the defender broke the news as he discussed his difficulties settling in at Sunderland.
He had joined the Black Cats from Reading in 2007 just six months after he had signed for the Royals.
“I haven’t told anyone this in the football world or anything but I’m on the spectrum of autism,” Halford bravely revealed.
“So, change, and not knowing at that time, fitting into a new group of people and changing, the way I live, where I live, being away from my family, my girlfriend at the time. I found it very, very hard.
“It was hard to interact with people. After training, I never wanted to go into the cafeteria because I didn’t want to be around. I felt awkward. It was just a weird sensation so I would just go home.”
However, it was different on the pitch, as he explained: “Being on the pitch is completely different, that’s my area, I can control myself there.
“But when it’s small intimate groups, I found it very difficult at that sort of time.”
Halford played in the Premier League for Wolves, Sunderland and Reading[/caption]
Asked if it would have been easier to fit in at the Stadium of Light if he had gone straight into the team, he added: “Probably, because that’s how I found out about people, that’s how I interacted with people.
“Then obviously once they hear me on the pitch and know what type of person I am on the pitch, it’s a little bit easier to interact with people.”
Halford made just nine appearances for Sunderland and was loaned out twice before being sold to Wolves in 2009.
He was visibly emotional as he revealed more details about his diagnosis.
“I only found out, did the diagnosis after I had my son, when he was diagnosed,” Halford continued. “He was exactly the same as me when I was his age.”
With 17 different clubs during his career, Halford believes those moves have helped him grow as a person.
“I always knew I was different in some kind of way, I just didn’t understand it.
Halford revealed he had never told anyone in football about his diagnosis[/caption]
“Football gave me that, where I was being put into so many new situations that I was able to grow.
“By the time I was moving to places like Portsmouth, I’d already had four or five moves and every time it was a lot easier to interact with people.
“I just learnt and I grew. I could just go into a new club today and be comfortable doing that.”
He also admitted he would still not have told anyone in football even if he had been diagnosed sooner.
“If I’d known that diagnosis at that time,” he told host Chris Brown. “I still wouldn’t have told anyone because I wanted to learn for myself.
“I wanted to grow as a person and make the mistakes that I needed to make in order to be better in the future.”
Halford now plays for non-league side Hashtag United, having joined the club last summer.
He even scored as the Tags clinched promotion to the seventh tier for the first time back in April.
The defender has made over 500 career club appearances[/caption]