Ray Wilkins has revealed he is suffering from the chronic bowel disease ulcerative colitis and has endured bouts of depression but insists he does not have a drink problem.
Wilkins was sacked as assistant manager by Fulham this week after new manager Felix Magath took charge.
Wilkins has been the subject of a whispering campaign which suggested alcohol had affected the way he carried out his work.
It has been reported that claims were made at Fulham that he was in poor condition in the dugout for the 3-2 home defeat by Liverpool last Wednesday.
That result led to manager Rene Meulensteen and his back-room staff, including technical director Alan Curbishley and first-team coaches Jonathan Hill and Mick Priest, being dismissed.
However, Wilkins has protested his innocence, blaming an occasionally “worse for wear” appearance on the debilitating illness he has endured since 1990.
“I need to control the ulcerative colitis with strict medication, which I had not done before the Liverpool game,’ he told the Daily Mail. “That is the reason I didn’t return to the dug-out after half-time as I needed to be close to a toilet.
“Unfortunately I can look the worse for wear but it is nothing to do with drink. I did have verbals with [Liverpool manager] Brendan Rodgers, but it was nothing.
“I was face to face with [Fulham] chief executive Alistair Mackintosh and the owner Mr Khan straight before the game. If I had been unable to carry out my duties, they had the right to sack me on the spot. I most certainly hadn’t been drinking on the train before the match.”
Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher is another sufferer of ulcerative colitis but the innuendo Wilkins has spoken out against may stem from a three-year driving ban which resulted from him being found to be three times over the legal limit.
Wilkins said: “I didn’t want to make a fuss about my illness, I didn’t tell Rene. Darren Fletcher said how hard it was to tell his team-mates. But I desperately want to carry on in football and there’s no chance of that happening if everyone gets the wrong impression that I have a drink problem.
“I was very stupid about the drink-driving and I have had trouble with depression on occasions. But not since I was back in football. I was so excited about the Fulham challenge, but it’s all about results.”