A former Premier League striker has revealed how God pulled him out of a life of drink and drugs and turned his life around.
Former Crystal Palace and Barnsley forward Bruce Dyer became the first teenage footballer to be sold for over £1 million in 1994, but he wasted much of his talent by indulging in cannabis and ecstasy.
By the time he was 23, he was depressed and ready to quit football entirely.
Dyer believes now that constantly hanging around with the wrong people took its toll on him mentally and physically and damaged his career.
He said: “I was depressed because of drink and drugs. My life just spiralled out of control. It was alarming. I was struggling.
“It was always my dream to be a professional footballer; to have the car, the house, and all the perks, but in reality I was in a dark, depressed state. I needed help.”
That summer, in the midst of his depression, Dyer received a phone call from his brother, who had become a Christian while serving time for street robbery.
“His transformation was just a miracle to me”, Dyer said. “From the day I spoke to him, I never looked back.
“I wouldn’t even want to think about the mess I would be now if I hadn’t. Some of the friends I was hanging out with went to prison, some of them were on drugs, some of them are still on drugs.
“Could that have been me? Absolutely yes, but for the grace of God, I got rescued.”
Dyer transferred to Barnsley, where he regularly talked about his faith with other players.
Now retired, he lives there permanently, and last year set up Love Life UK Church, an independent evangelical fellowship where he serves as pastor.
“Normally we meet every Sunday and I lead prayer, but we’ve had to move online for the moment” he said.
“Ever since this [the pandemic] happened it is making people think more about life, and there is a lot of fear, but I’m not fearful due to my faith.”