DIANE Brittain, the wife of Ross County captain Richard, has launched an impassioned defence of his decision to pull out of his projected summer move to St Johnstone.
The 29-year-old midfielder found himself at the centre of an unprecedented controversy when, after signing a two-year pre-contract agreement with the Perth club in January, he announced he would be staying in Dingwall after all.
After lengthy and occasionally acrimonious negotiations between the clubs, St Johnstone agreed to cancel Brittain’s contract in return for a payment of around £40,000 from Ross County to their community programme.
Brittain later revealed the family reasons for his u-turn. His wife Diane was badly affected by hyperemis gravidarum (HG) sickness while pregnant with the couple’s daughter Elle who was born in September last year. She subsequently suffered from post-natal depression, prompting the family to decide that a move away from the Highlands was not in their best interests.
In the latest entry on her online blog, the iPhone Diary of an HG Survivor, Brittain has outlined the extent of her illness and condemned the internet “trolls” who targeted her husband for sustained abuse throughout the saga of his on-off summer move.
“My husband has taken a lot of flak for pulling out of a move to Perth this summer,” she wrote. “As predicted, the media and social networks went into overdrive meaning that the trolls came out of the woodwork. This was to be expected and we thought we were prepared for it.
“I escaped with relatively no abuse despite people assuming we stayed because of my awful pregnancy.
“My husband however has taken a lot of stick and been accused of being offered more money and getting greedy.
“Most of the time he has kept a dignified silence, and I’ve bitten my finger to stop me replying to all the nasty tweets. Nobody wants to see someone they love bombarded with abusive messages.
“On many occasions we laughed. Not because we thought it was funny, but because we couldn’t believe most of these people sending abuse were grown men and women. Unbelievable.
“After a horrific pregnancy I was looking forward to feeling normal again and enjoying life as a mum. Unfortunately, as the days and months went on the crying continued and I got so low that I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up again.
“It took me four months to admit that things weren’t right. My husband knew I wasn’t myself but maybe we both put it down to being new parents. I even kept it from my mum, who I saw most days. When people say that mental illness is an invisible illness they are absolutely right. It’s easy to keep people from knowing something is wrong when you don’t want them to. I didn’t have any bruises, marks or scars so I was obviously perfectly fine, right? Nothing could have been further from the truth.
“In January the decision was made to move to Perth. At the time that’s what we all felt was best. I know what I signed up for when I got married and have always been prepared to have to move. When I met my husband I had been living in Glasgow for nearly eight years. It’s his fault I ended up back in the Highlands!
“We quickly realised that a move, any move, wasn’t in the best interests of our family. I went to see my GP towards the end of January and she couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to go and see her. I completely broke down the minute I sat in the chair and was diagnosed with post natal depression
“The decision to stay in the Highlands was a family one. It was decided that was what was best all round in order for me to recover. Doesn’t everyone make decisions based on what is best for their family? The difference is others aren’t judged and criticised for it by complete strangers!
“I can understand fans in Perth being disgruntled, of course I can, but that doesn’t excuse some of the disgusting abuse they have subjected my husband to. Anyone who knows me knows that I can take a joke and often give as good as I get.
“But sometimes it just goes too far. One fan even made a comment on a photo my husband posted of my daughter’s toy. Too far.
“The decision to stay was without a doubt the right one for our family. What other people think means little to me but it’s gone too far when the person who has been my biggest support is getting abuse on a daily basis. We made the right decision and maybe in time fans will realise this was a decision based on what was best for the whole family, and not a football/money based one.”