Richie Sadlier joins us in the studio for episode #105 of Paddy Holohan's No Shame Podcast. A former professional footballer & Irish International, Richie is currently a leading football pundit, panelist, presenter with Second Captains, author & full time therapist. Richie has recently released his autobiography, Recovering, with the book scooping the prestigious sports book of the year at the 2019 An Post Book Awards.
Both men discuss the writing process of their respective autobiographies with both books being released just weeks apart. Paddy discusses the freedom of getting a book off his chest, getting the whole truth out there & giving his critics all the ammunition they need. Richie expresses a similar feeling with his book highlighting the power to disarm people by being open & honest. The logic being that if you've nothing to hide then people have nothing to hit you with.
Richie tells Paddy of his love for playing football as a kid. From the moment he could walk, he was never without a ball to kick around. Being passionate about the sport fuelled the hard-work & dedication that would earn him a contract with Millwall FC in 1996.
Watch episode #105 of Paddy Holohan's No Shame Podcast below:
Sadlier had just completed his leaving cert & was 17 years of age. The probability of failure was extremely high with only 3-4 of the U18 squad making it to the first team. There really was no margin for error but Richie was spurred on by the fact he was living his dream on a daily basis.
Sadlier flourished in the underage setup & was one of the few that made it to the first team at Millwall. Anyone that has met Richie knows what a nice, welcoming guy he is & although these are valuable attributes to have as a therapist, they certainly did not sit well with the senior players at the club. They took him under their wing, showed him some tough love on the field & Richie soon adapted to the Millwall way & became a regular in the starting line up.
In the space of two years Richie had went from a being a kid without a penny to his name to having enough money to own his own house. He was the only one of his friends to live on his own & his home in England became a drop in centre for any of the native Irish passing through. Sadlier talks about feeling more Irish when abroad, with the Tri-colour & proclamation proudly hanging on the walls of his apartment.
The pinnacle of Richie's football career came in the lead up to the 2002 World Cup when Sadlier was called up the the national team, earning his first & only cap for the Republic of Ireland. It was a moment he'd visualised since his teenage years when he'd picked up a blade of grass while on the pitch at the ill fated Ireland V England game in 1995 which was abandoned due to crowd trouble from the English.
Richie reflects on the presence Roy Keane had to him as a team mate & Paddy likens it to the influence that Conor had on him as a fighter.
Cruelly, a freak hip injury forced Richie to retire from the game at just 24 years of age. Despite trying everything to stay in the game, it was hopeless & Sadlier was force to hang up his boots for good. Putting the ball in the net was the only thing he ever knew & it had been taken away from him at a time when he was tipped for a place in the World Cup squad, along with a move to the Premier League.
Listen to / download episode #105 of Paddy Holohan's No Shame Podcast
In the week of his retirement, Richie's cousin had tragically passed away from cystic fibrosis & he talks about the guilt of not being able to find solace in the knowledge that he still had his whole life ahead of him. It was a guilt that forced him to lock away his feelings, denying himself the chance to discuss his inner turmoil. This ties in with Paddy's own experience of retirement, as he likens it to the death of a family member.
Up until that point in his life, Richie had always worked towards an objective. As a professional footballer it was, the next goal, the next game, the next win. Becoming an outsider to the dressing room was a knock-out blow for Richie & he was overcome with an emptiness. With no consequences anymore, Sadlier fell off the rails, as drink, drugs & partying became the norm.
Without ruining the book, (you're just gonna have to buy it) a realisation moment along with therapy sessions helped Richie on his road to recovery. It is a road that has come full circle for Sadlier as he has since become a fully qualified therapist. As a therapist Richie discusses the importance of developing a connection with his patients. After volunteering, unpaid, for nearly two years, he talks about the transition of charging patients for the first time & why it's essential to know what you're worth, a point reiterated by Paddy. Value what you know, value ability, talent & appreciate that you're worth something to someone.
Thankfully Richie is at a happy place in his life, with a tight knit group of friends & family, Sadlier can look back fondly on his footballing career & use his experiences to help others that need it the most. Helping each other, after all, is one of the most important things in life.
You can purchase Richie's autobiography ,Recovering in all good bookstores including Eason.
The full episode #105 of Paddy Holohan's No Shame Podcast is available now across all the usual platforms including Youtube, iTunes & Spotify.