Dean Windass has admitted he attempted suicide earlier this month after battling with alcohol and depression following his retirement two years ago.
The 42-year-old former Hull, Bradford, Middlesbrough and Aberdeen striker's professional career spanned 19 seasons.
Windass, who scored the goal that fired his home town club Hull into the top flight in 2008, told The People: "I have cried every day for two years.
"I took an overdose and, when that didn't work, I tried to hang myself."
Despite earning more than £500,000 a year at the height of his fame, Windass, who also helped Bradford win promotion to the Premier League (scoring 86 goals in two spells with the Bantams), said most of his money was now gone.
His 18-year marriage has broken up and, with little income and grieving for his recently deceased father John, he decided to take his own life.
"People outside football think we have it all," he said. "But I was in a hole that I honestly didn't know how to get out of.
"Just over a week ago, I hit rock bottom and decided to end it all.
"I need to sort myself out which is why I'm speaking out now. It's part of me getting better - part of the healing process.
"People have this image of me as this big strong man who can take anything life throws at him. But I'm not ashamed to say I wanted to end it after a string of setbacks.
"I knew I'd been a fool but I couldn't shake off the depression at feeling what a failure I'd become."
His first attempt was thwarted by a former girlfriend who turned up after he had tried to overdose on tablets.
The following day he tried to hang himself with a bedsheet.
"I tied it to a handrail at the top of the stairs but it was too long," he added.
"I was quite drunk and couldn't get it to work, so I got a belt instead. At that point a friend came round so I couldn't go through with it.
"We're not the brightest but you play football all your life. There are hundreds of footballers in the same boat. There is nothing to get up for in the morning.
"The Professional Footballers' Association or the governing body need to help us. I have hurt the people closest to me, so I've come out today and admitted I need help."