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Family of footballer Maddy Cusack call for investigation into her death

Family of footballer Maddy Cusack call for investigation into her death

The Sheffield United sportswoman died suddenly aged 27 in September last year

The family of late football star Maddy Cusack have this week called an investigation into her sudden death, just less than four months after her shock passing.

The 27-year-old sportswoman was famed for being Sheffield United’s longest serving women’s player and was also named vice-captain just weeks before her unexpected death.

Maddy signed an extension with Sheffield in July.

Her mother, Deborah, told her followers at a memorial service for her daughter last year: "She fell in love with Sheffield United, the fans and the city of Sheffield.

"Maddy became Miss Sheffield United and adored every minute of it. This was her home, the place she envisioned she would hang up her boots one day."

The club subsequently commissioned an investigation into the talented young athletes death, after it was discovered that she'd tragically taken her own life.

Despite having signed an extension with the club in July, her body had been found at her parent's house in Derbyshire.

With it having been ruled just before Christmas that there was 'no evidence of any wrongdoing' surrounding Maddy's death, her family are launching an investigation into why this previously happy young star felt as though there was no way out.

Maddy took her own life in September.

In the complaint - written by Maddy's solicitor father David and which spanned across seven pages - a wide range of grievances are listed which relate to Maddy's last seven months at the club, all of which coincide with the appointment of the team's manager, Jonathan Morgan.

"There were a number of factors that troubled her in the end, but they all spring from the relationship with JM (Morgan)," the complaint states.

"As she confided to us (her family), every issue had its origin in JM’s appointment. We know she would still be with us had he not been appointed. Her text messages and conversations support this."

An external inquiry was arranged by the club, but no disciplinary action was taken against Morgan, who'd previously been Maddy's manager at Leicester.

Jonathan Morgan was Maddy's manager.
Jess Hornby - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Maddy's family allege that she left Leicester in 2019 after being convinced that Morgan had taken a personal dislike to her, and when he went on to manage Burnley, he'd called her a 'psycho' when she ran past during a match against Sheffield United.

They also allege that his positioning at Sheffield United left her anxious about their history, before he dropped her from the starting line-up for being overweight.

This anxiety reportedly left her feeling unwell, resulting in her moving back in with her parents, starting counselling at the club and being prescribed medication.

The family also claim Maddy could never understand the issue that Morgan had taken with her, being that she'd never experienced similar conflict with colleagues.

Evidence brought forward by her family says Maddy had complained about feeling marginalised by Morgan during her final few weeks.

Morgan has denied all allegations.
Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

They allege that this devastating impact on her mental health - paired with the pressure of juggling her career - undoubtedly contributed to her death.

Morgan denied treating her unfavourably, claiming he'd tried to be a positive influence in her life, and deemed it unfounded to suggest that their working relationship had contributed to her death.

Retired detective superintendent from Northumbria police Dennis Shotton was appointed by the club to carry out the investigation because of his role as an investigator for Safecall, a company specialising in whistleblowing disputes.

Her family later deemed the investigation shoddy, however, following a number of mistakes made by Shotton.

He'd misspelt Maddy's first and last name during correspondence with the family, referred to her father, David, as a club employee and failed to record what he'd said during interviews, and he did not contact some of the key individuals that the family recommended.

Maddy's family hope that the FA will launch another investigation.
James Chance - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Shotton is also said to have dismissed a number of key incidents, they told press following his inquiry, leading Maddy's family to reject it.

Having been told there is no appeal process, they have now asked the FA to carry out a follow-up investigation, after the club’s admission that Morgan could be seen as intimidating, as well as isolating towards certain players.

Tyla contacted Jonathan Morgan for comment on the allegations mentioned.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t suffer alone. Call Samaritans for free on their anonymous 24-hour phone line on 116 123

Featured Image Credit: Credit: Instagram/@maddycusackkk/Cameron Smith/Getty Images

Topics: Sport, Celebrity, Crime