Manchester United proved too big a stage for Mickey Thomas, who admits he lacked the mental strength to succeed there.
Thomas, who joined United from Wrexham in 1978, spent three years at Old Trafford, but a lack of confidence plagued him during his time there.
“I played a lot of games – 110 – in a short space of time at United, but it wasn’t me,” said Thomas.
“I wasn’t relaxed, I didn’t feel comfortable. I found it hard there.
“I couldn’t relay to anyone what I was going through. When I hear about Roy Carroll turning to drink, I can understand that.
“We’re all human, we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, in people’s lives.
“Everyone used to think I was cocky, but it was the complete opposite. That was all a front.
“That’s why, when players aren’t playing well and I’m doing commentary, I don’t slag them off.
“I look at someone like Memphis Depay and I think maybe he had the same problem as me – he couldn’t handle it.
“Fans see players on the pitch and think they’re superhuman, but they’ve got lives away from football, with their own problems, like all of us.
“There’s more awareness now of mental health, of the pressure on players and what it can do to them.
“But my era was a tough era, you had to be a proper man. If you said you were a bit scared, they’d say ‘f***-o**’ and knock you out.”
The cocky veneer Thomas created served him well in 1993 when he was sent to prison for 18 months for money laundering, although he maintains his innocence.
“I had to pretend I was someone different and I did that to perfection,” said Thomas.
“It was horrific though. I had to go through something I didn’t want to go through
“I played for the prison team. I always wanted to be an inside forward, so I got my wish!”