Consumed by the bottle
Ex-England footballer Kenny Sansom, who has been left homeless owing to alcohol apart from gambling, joins a notorious sporting list of addicts
Former Arsenal and England full-back Kenny Sansom has been left homeless as he struggles with alcohol and gambling problems, it was reported yesterday.
Sansom, now 54, made 86 appearances for his country between 1979 and 1988 and played at the World Cup twice. However, he revealed in an interview with The Sun that his drinking and gambling addictions have now left him penniless and without a roof over his head.
“I have been living homeless for 10 days, that’s because I’ve got no money, I’m a drunk, I’m not feeling very well and I’m a gambler. I’ve been living on the street,” he said.
“I am just a drunk. I drink as much as I can get.” In March, it was reported that Sansom had been taken to hospital after collapsing in a London street.
Recently, he had been staying with his sister before going missing, although both the Professional Footballers' Association and his former club Arsenal have offered him their support.
“I am in a bad way. Arsenal are trying to help me, but I have got to try to help myself,” he said. Sansom made his professional debut for Crystal Palace at the age of 16 and went on to captain the England Under-21s before becoming a permanent fixture in the senior team’s defence.
The full-back spent eight years at Arsenal, playing 314 matches, before leaving to join Newcastle in 1988. He also played for QPR and Everton before retiring. Since then, he had worked in the media and undergone several rehabilitation programmes.
Manuel Fransisco dos Santos — popularly known as Garrincha — was a part of Brazil’s World Cup winning teams in 1958 and 1962. He struggled with alcohol throughout his life and eventually died of liver cirrhosis aged only 49. Garrincha also assaulted his live-in partner Elza Soares, a famous Brazilian samba singer, in a drunken rage which led to their separation.
The Brazil legend died in a hospital aged 57 in December 2011 owing to an intestinal infection. In August the same year, alcohol abuse had caused his stomach to hemorrhage, following which he was treated thrice in four months at an intensive care unit.
George Best (Football)
Best, who died an alcoholic in 2005, is widely regarded as one of the greatest British players. He once scored six goals in one game for Manchester United where he became a legend. However, his footballing genius was often overshadowed by his drinking and lifestyle choices. Aged just 28, he was sacked by the Old Trafford club for excessive drinking and persistent failure
to attend training.
Paul Gascoigne (Football)
Earlier this year, ‘Gazza’ checked into rehab in Arizona which was paid for by his friends like media boss Chris Evans, TV presenters Piers Morgan and Gary Lineker, and ex-cricketer Ronnie Irani. However, that worked only temporarily as the English footballer has gotten back to his alcoholic ways and has been in the news recently for a drunken assault on his ex-wife Sheryl at Hertfordshire. He even admits to battling with alcoholism for much of his playing career in his book ‘Gazza: My Story’. His addiction got so out of hand that British tabloid ‘The Sun’ recently appealed to pubs to deny him a drink.
Tony Adams (Football)
The Arsenal legend struggled with addiction for nearly a decade, in which he was popular for wild drinking binges with fellow players like Paul Merson. Reportedly, after England, captained by Adams, lost the semi-final of the Euro 96 to Germany, he went on a “bender” which lasted six weeks. He even served a jail sentence in 1992 for drunk driving and finally sought treatment, thereby managing to prolong his playing career until 2002.
John Daly (Golf)
Pro-golfer Jon Daly once went six years without a professional victory as a result of his alcoholic ways. Daly, who has a drink named after him, has twice been in rehabilitation clinics since he surprisingly won the 1991 PGA Championship. Daly even lost an endorsement with Callaway Golf over his drinking.
Jesse Ryder (Cricket)
The Kiwi batsman has repeatedly been in the news for drunk and disorderly conduct. In 2009, Ryder ran afoul of the New Zealand authorities after indulging in a “late night drinking session” after the 3rd ODI against the West Indies which led to being dropped from the squad for the 4th ODI.
Phil Tuffnel (Cricket)
The left-arm spinner was the bad boy of English cricket in the 1990s and was rarely seen without a beer and a cigarette, smoking upto 20 cigarettes a day until recently. Tuffnel has had issues with the English establishment.