Consumed by the bottle

Aug 02, 2013, 01:53 IST | AFP

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.

Kenny Sansom
Arsenal’s Kenny Sansom in action at the Manchester Evening News Arena in England. PIC/Ross Kinnaird /Allsport

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.  

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George Best (Football)
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Tony Adams (Football)
Tony Adams 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)
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Jesse Ryder (Cricket)
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Phil Tuffnel (Cricket)
Phil TuffnelThe 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.


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