Former Football League player Drewe Broughton went from sex addiction and £80k debt to mental health professional known as the ‘Fear Coach’

Drewe Broughton
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Drewe Broughton was an accomplished lower league striker, making over 540 league appearances across a 17-year career, scoring 116 goals in the process.

However, the 44-year-old struggled mentally in regard to his performances on the pitch, something which eventually came to a head a decade ago when the PFA admitted him to Tony Adams' Sporting Chance clinic for sex addiction, while he had debts totalling £80,000.

His career ended at Darlington in the Conference in 2012, but, speaking to FourFourTwo in the latest issue available to buy, Broughton explains how his mental state suffered as a pro, and how he is now using his personal experiences to help benefit other high-performance people.

“Ten years ago, I found myself in rehab, having lost everything,” the 44-year-old tells FFT now. 

“I was sleeping on my brother’s sofa and was £80,000 in debt. I’d been a good pro during my career, but I’d struggled mentally. I’d been far too analytical, too afraid of failing – the desire to win in some aspects was so big that I over-controlled everything.” 

After leaving rehab for addiction, Broughton started working with other struggling players – similar to how he’d initially picked himself up at Nuneaton. He now runs a business under the guise 'The Fear Coach', supporting people in business and in sport in understanding and overcoming fear, something he believes is the main performance obstacle.

“I help players and coaches to turn a corner,” he says. “Exactly what I do depends on how much support they need, but I focus on different topics – fear, authenticity, ego – and aid them on a journey of self-discovery. 

“When a player isn’t playing well, it’s not because they’ve become bad at their job – it means they’ve lost that sense of self. First, you need to recapture your own identity.”

Discussing where his fear of failure originally came from, Broughton explains how his formative years as a professional footballer at the turn of the millennium might have had a part to play.

“I arrived at Nuneaton [on loan] a couple of years after scoring against Wolves at Molineux for [then second-tier] Norwich – I was playing in huge stadiums and went with England Under-20s to the World Cup with Jamie Carragher and Michael Owen,” recalls Broughton.

“Then I’m at Nuneaton Borough and, with the greatest of respect, I thought, ‘What the f**k am I doing here? It’s ridiculous’. I felt this loss of self. I began to wonder who I was and what I wanted from sport.

“Rather than give up, I decided that Nuneaton was a big chance to reset. I found, during my six weeks there, a simplicity to who I was. I battled for the next 12 years to hang on to that.”

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Ryan Dabbs
Staff writer

Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.