Football: Sunderland pledge support for Rae

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THE SUNDERLAND manager, Peter Reid, and his players have pledged their support to Alex Rae following claims that the Scotland B international attempted to commit suicide before being admitted to he Marchwood Priory Clinic, writes Simon Turnbull. McRae suffering from what the First Division club have described as "stress and alcohol-related problems."

Rae, signed by Reid for pounds 1m from Millwall in the summer of 1996, is reported to have slashed his wrists after a rift with his wife, Linda. His pounds 30,000 BMW car was allegedly smashed up his drive in an incident the 29-year- old midfielder did not report to police.

Rae's father, Eric, would only say yesterday: "Alex just went off the rails a bit recently after a few problems at home. He isn't a big drinker. He's never been in any trouble like this before."

Reid said, "I don't want to go into detail," but added: "Certain things happened to the lad and as his manager I'm trying to be supportive. So are the club. I'm here for Alex. His health comes first. That is more important than the playing side of the game. We will give Alex as long as it takes."

Speaking on behalf of the Sunderland players, striker Niall Quinn said: "There is a lot of sympathy for Alex. The players are 100 per cent behind him. The dressing-room's a quiet place without him. Everyone's thinking of him."

The Glaswegian, who forced his way back into the Scotland B team last season after a three-year absence, has missed four games since his last appearance for Sunderland, against Bury on 24 October.