My Story

My life and career has been framed by sport.

I spent nearly twenty years as a player at Manchester City Football Club – the team I’d supported as a boy – progressing through every phase and making my senior debut prior to my 18th birthday.

I went on to make 130 appearances for my club, playing in every outfield position, and was proud to be appointed team captain in 1990.

With my career in the ascendancy – I’d not long been selected for the England 1990 World Cup squad – I had the misfortune of suffering a serious knee injury. At the age of 26, and following a succession of failed operations, I was forced to retire prematurely from the game I loved.

With my life and career in tatters, my mental health plummeted and I experienced severe anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Only by seeking professional therapy was I eventually able to process my emotions, pinpoint strategies and rebuild my life.


Re-training for a life helping others

I subsequently trained as a Chartered Physiotherapist, treating and rehabilitating elite footballers and athletes. In 2013 I was recruited by the FA Premier League in a managerial capacity, offering support, guidance and mentorship to football academy staff and players, including those transitioning out of the game.

My own experiences as a sports professional, as well as a desire to help others with their mental wellbeing, prompted me to qualify as a psychotherapeutic counsellor and hypnotherapist. I now work with individuals from a variety of backgrounds, from young athletes at the cusp of their career to older sportspeople who are coping with life post-retirement.


In 2011, I chronicled the highs and lows of my life and career in a memoir, I’m Not Really Here, which became a Sunday Times bestseller and received a nomination for Sports Book of the Year. You can purchase my book at Amazon.

“This is simply not only one of the best football autobiographies ever but also one of the best autobiographies ever. An intelligent, enlightening and well written account of a great player cruelly cut down in his prime. So what is it that makes Paul Lake’s story so special. It could be the homegrown hero elevated to City captain at a tender age. It could be footballer plunging the depths as his career is ended. The thing that makes this story truly special is how Paul has digested and dealt with the highs and lows and how he has resolved these events to become a true legend and inspiration..”

“After being released by her football club, my daughter suffered terribly with low self-esteem and lack of confidence. Paul’s support and guidance helped her regain her mojo and motivation – she’s now resumed her career elsewhere – and I’d recommend him to anyone who’s struggling”

– TR

My acceditations

I am an accredited member of the National Counselling Society.

I am an accredited member of the National Hypnotherapy Society