Having retired from professional football in January at the age of 29 because of struggles with depression, anxiety and bulimia, the former Accrington Stanley striker is building a new career for himself – and enjoying the company of his colleagues.
“The first couple of weeks they were like ‘so you used to drive a BMW X5, earn such and such amount of money, and you’ve retired early? You’re definitely not right in the head’,” laughs Kee.
“All the lads on the building site, their dream growing up was to be professional footballers. I gave up that dream for bricklaying.”
Now playing part-time football at seventh-tier Coalville Town, who are in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup on Tuesday, Kee opens up about therapy and how he is moving on in his life after suicidal thoughts.
“I still have my days when I am down and full of anxiety,” he says. “There are a lot of people who don’t want to admit they need help. If I can encourage one person to reach out and get help, brilliant.”
It was February 2018 when Kee, who was in the middle of an impressive run of scoring form that would propel Accrington to promotion to League One, spoke openly in a BBC Sport interview about his mental health struggles.
“Why would someone who has got the best job in the world want to go and kill themselves?” the former Scunthorpe, Burton and Torquay forward said at the time.
On 27 April 2019, Kee scored the first goal as Accrington thrashed Plymouth 5-1 to guarantee League One survival with one game to go.
It was the 127th and final league goal of his professional career. A week later John Coleman’s team finished the season at Portsmouth. Kee was not involved.
“I faked an injury because I didn’t want to play any more,” he adds. “I was struggling with my head. Once I knew Accrington were safe in the table, I wasn’t doing it any more.”
In July 2019, Accrington said the former Leicester City youth player had not reported for pre-season because of “personal reasons”.
Two months later the Lancashire club announced he was having specialist treatment for depression, anxiety and bulimia. When Ipswich visited the Wham Stadium on 20 October 2019, opposition fans displayed a banner in support of Kee.
His retirement was announced on 29 January 2020, Accrington paying tribute by retiring his number 29 shirt.
“If I had carried on playing I wouldn’t be here now,” he says with brutal honesty. “I tried to live the dream. I just wasn’t right for it.”
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