Paul Merson reveals he ‘never had a day off’ despite addiction to alcohol in playing days
‘I was a good drinker, didn’t get a hangover’: Paul Merson reveals he ‘never had a day off’ despite addiction to alcohol during playing career… admitted he would go straight to training after a evening on the town
- In recent years, Paul Merson has spoken openly about the addictions he suffered from during and after his playing days
- The former England footballer struggled with alcohol abuse throughout his career
- However, he has revealed that it never caused him to miss a day off from training
- Merson would even go to morning training straight from the nightclub
Former England footballer Paul Merson has revealed he never missed a day of training despite battling alcohol addiction during his career.
Merson, 54, has spoken openly in recent years about his addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling during and after his days on the field.
The former Arsenal and Aston Villa player would have as many as 35 pints a week, he revealed on the Harry’s Heroes documentary in 2020.
In an interview with Telegraph However, Merson revealed that the extent of his drinking never forced him to miss a day of action.
He said: ‘I was a good drinker. Didn’t get a hangover. Never had a day off.
‘I’ve even been to a (night) club and turned up directly for training. I played football carefree.
Paul Merson revealed his drinking addiction never caused him to miss a day of football
‘I saw things on the pitch. (I want to believe), you know what, for all my problems off the field, this hour and a half on the football field is bliss.
‘I might as well try whatever I want. I was a brave footballer.’
Merson has also been candid about the depth of his problems with drugs (cocaine-induced paranoia and gambling with £7 million losses.
He believes that there is a connection to the anxiety and panic attacks he had as a child. He was even advised never to play football.
His comments to the Telegraph come after he revealed to Sun that he had a relapse of his gambling addiction during the first Covid-19 lockdown.
Merson revealed that he would even go straight from the nightclub to practice the next day
Merson has spoken candidly about his alcohol, drug and gambling addictions in recent years
The Sky Sports Soccer Saturday pundit revealed he lost £160,000 – money that had been set aside to help buy a house for his family.
Merson admitted he returned to the bookies during the pandemic because he felt so anxious about the lack of work.
With no football matches being played, Merson was unable to fulfill his role as a pundit on Sky Sports.
“I was on leave from Sky Sports and initially I enjoyed the lockdown,” he shared The sun. ‘I was in the garden with my youngest children and the sun was out. But then I started getting addicted to bulletins when Boris Johnson and the guy in the red tie came out.
“My anxiety started and I thought, ‘They’re not going to have football Saturdays anymore’ and thought, ‘I won’t be able to earn anything’. My older children’s mothers have houses and I want to give my younger children a future .
‘Kate [Merson’s wife] and I had £160,000 saved up and I blew it on a few bets. It was all online, but it wasn’t a bookie, it was a private bookie.
‘My last bet was eight thousand on a table tennis player. I didn’t have much knowledge of table tennis, but everything was locked at the time, so there wasn’t much to bet on.
‘I remember sitting in my front room having suicidal thoughts and my kids playing and I was like, “Oh my god, I’ve just done everything in.”
Merson, a father of eight, saw his first two marriages fall apart because of his addiction and believes his current wife Kate would leave him if he relapsed.
As a result, he revealed that all his salary now goes to Kate and that he receives ‘pocket money’ from her. Merson also attends Gamblers Anonymous sessions and has become an ambassador for addiction support app Recoverlution.
During his career as a footballer, Merson won two league titles and the FA Cup at Arsenal and earned 21 caps. He also played for Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Portsmouth and Walsall.