Sunday 19 November 2017

Hero to zero – footballers who hit rock bottom

Sporting Chance helped Paul Gascoigne with his addiction
Sporting Chance helped Paul Gascoigne with his addiction
Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

When they fall, they can often fall hard.

Football stars are no different to other people in the public eye as their personal difficulties play out in front of us through the media, their struggles in sharp contrast to their sporting highs.

There are many examples of players who have struggled badly both after their career is over and indeed during it and here are the tales of four men who have enjoyed some fantastic highs, but also the lowest of the lows.

Jorge Cadete – Celtic hero now living on benefits with his parents

Jorge Cadete surprised Celtic fans this week when he revealed that he is now earning €190 a week and living at home with his parents.

This is the same Cadete that wowed Parkhead during the 1996/97 season, finishing top scorer in the league and making his free transfer look like a brilliant bit of business by Tommy Burns.

Rangers won the league that season and Cadete was to leave acrimonously (the Bhoys did receive a £3 million fee), moving back to Portugal, though he never scaled the heights of that particular season, coming off the back of performing at Euro 96.

Despite earning more than €4 million in his career, the 45 year-old gave an insight to his current lifestyle in a recent documentary.

Cadete cites two divorces and a series of bad investments for his impoverished circumstances. He is living with his parents, with state income of £155 (€189) a week diverted to the bank to pay off debt, while his biggest regret is the breakdown in his relationship with his 23 year-old daughter.

Now living on social benefits at home with his parents, he has been desperate to find work in football, with a recent trip to Glasgow reported to be in order to investigate the possibility of becoming a youth coach. He even appeared in the Portuguese version of Big Brother for some badly needed funds.

Kenny Sansom – From England international to homeless alcoholic

While all stories of struggling sports people seem to strike a chord, the demise of former England international Kenny Sansom is one of the most harrowing tales.

Capped 86 times by his country – he was the man that toe-poked the ball in the air during the famous Euro 88 defeat to Ireland that lead to Ray Houghton’s winning header – he is something of an Arsenal legend with more than 300 hundred appearances for the Gunners. But he had tougher battles off the pitch that would eventually take over.

His wife noticed his growing alcohol abuse while he was a player, but this was simply brushed off by the club, deemed the culture at the time and to get help himself if he needed it.

Noted for his punditry appearances on Sky Sports from time to time, the 54 year-old father of four was reported last summer as being a homeless alcoholic, lurching from pub to pub during the day and often sleeping in parks at night.

The Professional Footballers’ Association were at one stage paying £65 a night for accommodation for the former international, but worryingly Sansom said that he was losing the will to live as he was drinking up to nine bottles a day in his drunken stupor.

Lee Hendrie – How losing more than £10 million resulted in drastic action

At one stage the former Aston Villa midfielder was earning in the region of £40,000 a week, but after a sharp fall professionally and large financial investments that turned sour, Lee Hendrie was left in a grim place.

Hendrie, who has one England cap, paid a heavy price when the property market crashed and his debts were soon mounting. The depression he said got so bad that he had little time or focus for his four children and tried to take his own life.

Hendrie admitted that things changed when he married his current wife in 2012 and is now heavily involved in charity work.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport