Former Reading midfielder
Iused to love winning money. During the race, the buzz would just increase… increase … increase. It was similar to scoring a goal.
My gambling eventually took over my football. I was rushing out of training. I was betting on horse racing all round the world, at 4am
or 5am, and then back in for training at 7am.
When I got paid, I’d go all guns blazing and do all my money within days. I couldn’t afford to get to training and I owed people money from playing poker on the coach. The card school on the bus was an easy place to make friends. And then, from there, it was a downward spiral. Then it turned out to be every day for the next nine years.
I didn’t want to show a sign of weakness and say: “Listen, this is hurting me now; I don’t want to do it any more.”
I wouldn’t give my family the time of day. I had a young nephew at the time. Before he was born, I was promising the world to my sister that I’d take him out, I’d do this with him, do that. And I couldn’t have cared less.
Other people can’t understand the strength of gambling and the addiction.
One player said to me, ‘At least it’s not drugs or alcohol’. And, for me, that cut me deep. Because, I look at the stats of suicide in men under 50 and