7 footballers who had big gambling problems

Money On Hook

For some, they were able to stop before it was too late. Others were not so fortunate. Featured here are former (and current) players who played for Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle and Tottenham.

Michael Chopra - Newcastle, Cardiff, Sunderland, Ipswich, Blackpool

'I have probably lost between £1.5m and £2m on gambling. Your first bet’s your worst bet. As the years have come along and I’ve earned more money I’ve started to gamble more. I was gambling up to £20,000 a day at times'.

Matthew Etherington - Peterborough, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham, Stoke City

Etherington says he lost £1.5m on greyhounds, horses and poker.

'I had become very withdrawn, not the person my family knew. When you are a gambler, you are in another world, not really listening. You're thinking about your next bet'.

Keith Gillespie - Manchester United, Newcastle United, Blackburn, Leicester City, Sheffield United, Bradford City, Darlington

Gillespie reckons he has squandered around £7.2m on gambling.

'Without a doubt I was a stupid gambler. But then there’s not too many clever gamblers. I had a good education, I was brought up well, but once you get caught up in it, it takes the wits out of you'.

Dietmar Hamann - Bayern Munich, Newcastle United, Liverpool, Manchester City, MK Dons

'One night, the Aussies were playing South Africa in a Test match. Australia collapsed for 237. It is a score I remember well. It cost me £288,400'.

Fortunately, Hamann overcome his problems before it was too late.

Paul Merson - Arsenal, Middlesborough, Aston Villa, Portsmouth Walsall

Merson reckons he lost £7m during his 20-year gambling addiction.

'I placed some silly wagers, £60,000 here, £80,000 there. My system was all over the place and I was gambling on absolutely anything and everything'.

Dominic Matteo - Liverpool, Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers, Stock City

Matteo says he lost around £1m, but believes that it could have been a lot worse if he hadn't reined himself in.

'Most of my friends and family know I enjoy a drink but the gambling side, and especially the extent of it, was not known and has come as a shock to them'.

Kevin Twaddle - St Johnston, Raith Rovers, Greenock Morton, Motherwell, Hearts, St Mirren

Twaddle believes he has frittered away over £1m gambling, which drove him to the brink of suicide.

'I was stealing, lying, cheating, deceiving to do it but I didn’t see it as that. It was all about getting the money, I didn’t think about the repercussions. I didn’t care about anything apart from gambling'.

image: © Tax Credits

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