Cedric Anselin is a name that should need no introduction around these parts. A tricky winger who began his career playing alongside all-time great Zinedine Zidane at Bordeaux, before making a substitute appearance in the 1996 UEFA Cup Final and later convincing Norwich City to pay £250,000 for his services in 1999; Anselin had an interesting career to say the least. After leaving the Canaries, Anselin had stints with Ross County, Cambridge United, Gravesend & Northfleet, Kings Lynn and Dereham Town before signing for Lowestoft Town in October 2008. Anselin played six times for the first-team and a further 11 games for the reserves during his time with the Trawlerboys.
After leaving football to spend more time with his family, Anselin suffered with mental illness in the years that followed and considered taking his own life. After getting through that dark time through professional help and love and support from friends and family, these days Anselin coaches young children about mental health and encourages them to speak out about their feelings. In addition to this important charity work, Anselin is also the player-manager of Sheringham FC in the Anglia Combination Division One and is often a guest on BBC Radio Norfolk to commentate on his former team Norwich City.
My greatest moment with Lowestoft would have to be gaining promotion from the Thurlow Nunn to the Division One North. I hadn’t ever won anything in local or non-league football so for me to be able to get promoted with Lowestoft was fantastic. We had a very good team, great team spirit and a good management team with a great guy in Craig Fleming being involved too. The training was perfect, we had Dave Carolan who was very professional and did a great job but mainly it would be the team spirit which helped us to go up.
It was Richard Woodrow, I really liked Woody. I knew him during my time at Norwich City when he was a young lad there and then when I came to Lowestoft he helped me settle into the team and he’s a very good lad.
What convinced you to sign for the club?
Flem called and explained to me his vision for the club and where he wanted to see Lowestoft go so that attracted me. Also, having known Flem from my time with Norwich City, I know he was a very driven person and I wanted to be part of his vision.
Where did you go after leaving Lowestoft?
I didn’t do too much after leaving the club as my ex-wife was giving birth to our first child at the time so I just wanted to spend time with my family and see my baby grow up. I was then an Assistant Manager at Cromer Town and Gorleston and I really enjoyed those experiences so I decided to do my coaching badges and moved on from there.
How much are you enjoying your current role with Sheringham?
At the start when I signed in 2016 I was only going to be a player. It’s well-documented that I suffer with depression and I just wanted to come back playing where I am free in my mind and happy on the football field. I started to enjoy the game again and find that buzz and the manager asked me if I wanted to stay on for another season and I agreed. The manager said that he wanted me more involved with the management side of things and to be alongside him but I told him I needed to play and he was happy to let me be a player-manager. Unfortunately, two months ago I snapped my ACL so I can’t really play for the remainder of the season but I’m still in touch with the team because I am the Assistant Manager so for me it’s quite good.
As you say, your struggles with mental health and depression are well-documented and you are doing lots of good work to help combat the problem. How important do you think it is that you can share your story and help others that are in the same situation?
I’ve suffered for 14 long years and I always said I was a good actor and was good at hiding it. When you are so close to taking your own life, a fraction of a second and the light of my phone saved me and the phone call I made after that to my good friend Clarke Carlisle and without him I wouldn’t be here. I think there came a time where I had to start to open up and not be ashamed so I did my first article and from there it’s been a snowball. It’s my mission and my duty now to try and be the voice and help as many people as I can. If by me opening up it saves one person’s life then it will be worth it, it’s something that’s very close to my heart and I try and do as much as I can.
Going back to football, what do you feel the biggest difference is from playing for Norwich City to playing in the Lowestoft Town team?
I think it’s the mindset and the discipline. Football is football at the end of the day but the only difference is the tactical approach to the game. I think the way players approach the game tactically and technically is the only difference. It’s not so much about the tempo or anything like that, it’s all about the mindset and being disciplined.
Could you sum up Lowestoft in three words?
Good family club.
A big thank you to Cedric Anselin for his time and for giving a such an interesting and open interview. I wish him and Sheringham FC all the best for the rest of the season.
Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. Alternatively, you can email Samaritans at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated 19:48 - 27 Dec 2017 by Sean Galea-Pace