A blog by @DazzledChica10
Players of other teams have also been unable to resist the temptation, two of the most famous examples are George Best and Paul Gascoine. However George Best couldn't beat the addiction but Gazza is still battling and trying to get onto the road of recovery.
Why do footballers fall into the downward spiral of addiction? Footballers, some from their teenage years are given huge amounts of money in the form of wages from football clubs once they are signed up. They are thrown into the public eye with thousands of fans chanting their names and hero worshipping them. Does anyone prepare these impressionable youngsters for the sudden fame?
Footballers are then given even more money from lucrative sponsorship deals, what are they to do with all this money? They spend the cash on flashy cars, nights out filled with copious amounts of alcohol and gambling. It must a huge rush to have it all at the touch of your fingertips and these footballers don't come off the high they stay on for the ride until its too late to get off.
Having said this it is apparent that not all footballers fall prey to addiction, majority of them have a brilliant career then go on to coaching or pundit jobs. Is this because they have stronger personalities that can resist the dark path or does it come down to support from friends and family? Is it that these players concentrate on the job at hand which is their performance on the pitch and the added on perks just do not appeal as ,inch and they want the quiet lifestyle instead of the partying one? It could be argued that players that do go down the dark path get in with the wrong crowd and get roped into the lifestyle and before they know it they are hooked.
Players that do come out and admit they have an addiction and need help usually get it from their previous clubs, for example Arsenal are currently helping Kenny and Tottenham have been helping Gazza after his recent relapse. It is admirable that players are not left alone once they have retired from the game, Tony Adams was supported whilst still playing for Arsenal. However can clubs do more whilst players are playing for them to help them from losing control?
Would a more regimental approach by football managers work? Arsene Wenger is quite strict with players he doesn't expect to see them falling or brawling in bars, therefore players are aware that they need to behave. He also has them on strict training programmes and diet plans; could this be what is required? Could offering footballers mentors help? Players have coaches and managers to help with improving performance and technique but do they have someone specifically for dealing with the pressures and temptations that come along with the fame?
I have emailed Arsenal asking what support they offer current players to stop them going off the rails and what support they offer ex players who struggle with addiction like Kenny Sansom. As soon as I have a response I will post it up on here.