Former England star Kenny Sansom admits he's 'homeless, a drunk and sleeping on a park bench'

Shocking admission by former Arsenal player is down to his on-going issues with alcohol and gambling causing his family to fear for his life

Former England star Kenny Sansom has made an astonishing admission that he is homeless, admitting that problems with alcohol and gambling are to blame.

Sansom, who in his days at Arsenal earned £1,200-a-week and lived in a £1m mansion, has confirmed that he is now living rough on a park bench, causing his family to fear for his life on a regular basis.

Speaking to The Sun during a brief stay at his sister’s home, Sansom admitted: “I've been living homeless for 10 days.

“That's because I've got no money, I'm a drunk, I'm feeling not very well and I'm a gambler. I've been living on the street. It's not good living on the bench.

Sansom earned 86 caps for England – the second-most achieved by a defender behind Ashley Cole – but he has sold most of those to fund his descent into alcoholism.

The newspaper claims that he has been drinking seven bottles of rose wine each day, and that his only possessions left are a pay-as-you-go phone, a travel card and a £20 note, as well as the T-shirt and shorts on his back.

The ex-footballer expressed in his 2008 biography ‘To Cap It All…My Story’ that even during his playing days he was struggling with the twin demons of both alcohol and gambling, claiming to be in a betting shop nearly every day, while spending most afternoons in the pub playing snooker that earned him the nickname “Mr Chablis”.

He spoke publicly for the first time about his troubles in 2011, but he was found earlier this year collapsed close to Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, and was admitted to hospital which triggered his rapid fall from grace.

His elder sister, Mary, has confessed her heart-break over his downfall, and he went missing shortly after the interview.

“He is breaking my heart. I wish he would just tell us where he is,” she said.

“On Fathers’ Day we found him crying in the kitchen because none of his kids had sent him anything. Underneath all this he is such a nice person. But he can’t get his act together.”

Sansom’s former manager at Arsenal George Graham admitted his surprise at the news, and claimed that he should get in touch with the Professional Footballers' Association, who he said could help him with what he is going through.

“He was a fantastic player under me when I was manager of Arsenal and he has over 80 caps for England,” said Graham.

“He was a model professional and it is very, very sad to hear that news. I am really surprised. I haven’t heard from Kenny for quite a while. I think the last time I saw him was on Sky television, working away. So it comes as big surprise.

“I think he should get in touch with the PFA because they are usually very supportive when players get into problems like Kenny obviously has. I am sure that Gordon Taylor, like he has with many players in the past, will be very willing to help Kenny.

“It seems some people can handle success and some people can’t. Tony Adams is connected with the Sporting Chance clinic that helps ex-professionals. If I was Kenny I would get in touch with these people who I am sure will help him get out of the difficulties he finds himself in at present.

“I am sure there will be a lot of people, myself included, who would be willing to help him. But I think he has got to contact these bodies first, the PFA and the other bodies that run football who I am sure would be only too pleased to help him.”

His sister summed up the feeling of his family after his latest disappearance, saying: “We’re worried we’re going to find him dead in the street somewhere.”

News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'