Lifelong Leeds United fan completes incredible 'man cave' transformation to help mental health recovery

A lifelong Leeds United fan has completed an incredible transformation of his garage into a LUFC inspired 'man cave' - to help with his recovery from mental health problems.
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Tony Walker, 47, was signed off from his job as a fire station manager near York in order to start his recovery.

Determined Tony knew he needed a project to keep him occupied, with his usual hobbies of walking and fishing extremely difficult during lockdown.

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So Tony - who is hoping to raise awareness of mental health issues and said it 'is okay not to be okay' - decided to completely transform his disused garage into an unbelievable 'man cave'.

In just a few weeks and with some graft alongside his friends and family, Tony has managed to install a fully functioning bar, Leeds United inspired LED lighting system and a place for all of his memorabilia - including a signed picture of Marcelo Bielsa.

Tony proudly displayed his new man cave on Twitter, with hundreds of Leeds United fans praising his work.

Now, Tony said he has a new place to watch the Whites with friends.

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He told the Yorkshire Evening Post that he has not yet fully recovered from his struggles, but that this was one of the first steps on the journey and he is very proud of the completed project.

A lifelong Leeds United fan has completed an incredible transformation of his garage into a LUFC inspired 'man cave' - to help with his recovery from mental health problems. cc Tony Johnson/JPIA lifelong Leeds United fan has completed an incredible transformation of his garage into a LUFC inspired 'man cave' - to help with his recovery from mental health problems. cc Tony Johnson/JPI
A lifelong Leeds United fan has completed an incredible transformation of his garage into a LUFC inspired 'man cave' - to help with his recovery from mental health problems. cc Tony Johnson/JPI

Tony said: "I started on it a few weeks ago.

"My usual hobbies are to go fell walking and fishing but I couldn't do them during lockdown.

"It has cost a small fortune but I am proud of it.

"It has been something to get up every day for.

A lifelong Leeds United fan has completed an incredible transformation of his garage into a LUFC inspired 'man cave' - to help with his recovery from mental health problems. cc Tony Johnson/JPIA lifelong Leeds United fan has completed an incredible transformation of his garage into a LUFC inspired 'man cave' - to help with his recovery from mental health problems. cc Tony Johnson/JPI
A lifelong Leeds United fan has completed an incredible transformation of his garage into a LUFC inspired 'man cave' - to help with his recovery from mental health problems. cc Tony Johnson/JPI

"After being signed off, I needed a project.

"When I went into the garage there was stuff all over the place.

"Now, the new man cave is the envy of my mates."

Tony paid tribute to Leeds United legend Jack Charlton - who died during lockdown - by naming the bar in the man cave 'Jack's'.

A lifelong Leeds United fan has completed an incredible transformation of his garage into a LUFC inspired 'man cave' - to help with his recovery from mental health problems. cc Tony Johnson/JPIA lifelong Leeds United fan has completed an incredible transformation of his garage into a LUFC inspired 'man cave' - to help with his recovery from mental health problems. cc Tony Johnson/JPI
A lifelong Leeds United fan has completed an incredible transformation of his garage into a LUFC inspired 'man cave' - to help with his recovery from mental health problems. cc Tony Johnson/JPI
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He has installed a range of his memorabilia around the room, including signed pictures of players and items from his other love - boxing.

Tony has even had the backing of his wife Julie - on the promise she could enjoy a glass of gin with him in the new bar.

He said: "I am very lucky that she has been behind it too.

"She has been full of support for me."

Tony is now hoping to raise awareness of mental health issues.

He has started back in his role as station manager for Acomb & Huntington this week, having been in the fire service for more than 25 years.

Originally from Leeds, Tony moved to Selby for the role.

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He is a season ticket holder at Elland Road and has been a fan for 'as long as he can remember'.

Tony said: "The project allowed me to keep my mind occupied.

"I have never really been off sick from work before so this was a first.

"I have been very open with my reasons for being off work with everyone and I want to raise awareness about it.

"It is okay not to be okay."

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A video of the project posted online by Tony has had a huge reaction from Leeds United supporters.

One said: "Unbelievable!"

Another added: "I am going to steal some of your ideas for my own version!"

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Thank you

Laura Collins