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.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen