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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Feb 19, 2014

Wilkins suffering from ulcerative colitis

The ESPN FC crew discusses if Arsene Wenger is a failure, Fulham's managerial changes and the Champions League contenders.

Ray Wilkins has revealed he is suffering from the chronic bowel disease ulcerative colitis and has endured bouts of depression but insists he does not have a drink problem.

• Hotakie: Could 'dictator' Magath save Fulham?

The former Manchester United and Chelsea midfielder was sacked as assistant manager by Fulham this week after new manager Felix Magath took charge.

The 57-year-old, who was found guilty of drinking and driving in 2013, said he can occasionally look "worse for wear" but insisted that is due to the debilitating illness he has endured since 1990, and not related to alcohol.

Fulham's 3-2 loss against Liverpool on Feb. 12 led to manager Rene Meulensteen and his back-room staff, including technical director Alan Curbishley and first-team coaches Jonathan Hill and Mick Priest, being dismissed.

Wilkins said in the Daily Mail: "I need to control the ulcerative colitis with strict medication, which I had not done before the Liverpool game. That is the reason I didn't return to the dug-out after half-time as I needed to be close to a toilet.

"Unfortunately I can look the worse for wear but it is nothing to do with drink. I did have verbals with [Liverpool manager] Brendan Rodgers, but it was nothing.

"I was face to face with [Fulham] chief executive Alistair Mackintosh and the owner Mr Khan straight before the game. If I had been unable to carry out my duties, they had the right to sack me on the spot. I most certainly hadn't been drinking on the train before the match."

Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher is another sufferer of ulcerative colitis, and Wilkins added: "I didn't want to make a fuss about my illness, I didn't tell Rene.

"Darren Fletcher said how hard it was to tell his teammates. But I desperately want to carry on in football and there's no chance of that happening if everyone gets the wrong impression that I have a drink problem.

"I was very stupid about the drink-driving and I have had trouble with depression on occasions. But not since I was back in football. I was so excited about the Fulham challenge, but it's all about results."

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