Which footballer lost £2million because of a gambling addiction?
Distinctly average former Newcastle and Sunderland striker Michael Chopra has admitted that he has lost up to £2 million because of an addiction to gambling.
Footballers spending big sums of money at the track or on online gambling is hardly a new phenomenon. Amongst his lengthy list of unsavoury qualities, Chelsea captain John Terry is reported to have had a massive gambling problem in the past, while similar tales have been told of the likes of Wayne Rooney, Matthew Etherington and Keith Gillespie.
All of those players played at the top level for the majority of their career. Chopra, on the other hand, has been something of a journeyman, having played for clubs such as Watford, Nottingham Forest, Cardiff and Norwich as well as spells at Premier League sides Sunderland and Newcastle.
That didn’t stop him from blowing nearly everything he had on his gambling addiction, however, as he revealed that he has lost up to £2 million because of his habit and moved clubs specifically so he could claim sign on fees that would help cover his debts.
"I have probably lost between £1.5m and £2m on gambling," he said.
"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. As soon as I'd step over the white line I would focus on football - but as soon as I got to the dressing room I would check my phone to see if I'd won.
"As a gambler you want to be playing to get the appearance money. I was playing through injury to cover a debt.
"In my first season at Cardiff I had a gambling debt from when I was at Newcastle,"
"I had to leave Cardiff and sign for another team to pay that debt off."
Chopra hasn’t played for Ipswich in weeks, having been admitted to the Sporting Chance clinic in an effort to cure his addiction.
He admitted that he used to get up in the middle of the night just to have a bet on South American football and that his problem became apparent early on to current Ipswich boss Paul Jewell, who noticed that the first thing he did after games was to check his phone for his betting results.
What we can’t fathom is that this guy played under Roy Keane at Sunderland and Keane tried to sign him again for Ipswich before he got the boot.
And we all know how Roy dislikes people using their mobile phones in his presence.