Hazard becomes a problem when you have a lot of free time, describes former Tottenham, West Ham and Stoke player Matthew Etherington in a recent interview with talk show TalkSport After the Lights Go Out.
Betting and playing poker
In 2018, Matthew Etherington published his autobiography Lucky Man , in which he detailed the time he struggled with a gambling addiction, which led him to regularly spend monthly earnings in excess of £1,250,000 playing in casinos or placing bets.
Player who was forced to give up football at age 33 years after a recurring back injury in December 2014, He openly admitted in an interview to compulsive gambling, which at one point cost him £1.5 millionbetting on greyhounds and horses and playing poker.
Matthew Etherington drew particular attention to the episode before the UEFA Cup qualifiers away with Palermo in 2006, during which gambling among the players West Ham got out of control.
"We've got a really important game around the corner, a UEFA Cup qualifier, and we're playing tens of thousands of pounds against each other.
Furthermore, he recalled the feeling he had against one of his teammates after every hand he won, wanting to "wring his neck" even though he had to play him on the court in a few hours.
Etherington clearly admitted to being in the midst of his gambling addiction during the episode, but also stated that he wasn't the only one, suggesting that other West Ham players also had the same gambling problem.
The player did not mention, but West Ham lost 3: 0 in the second round of the elimination of the first round and came out 4: 0 in the two-match series.
Matthew Etherington clearly remembers his first bet: he moved to Tottenham and one night when he accidentally found a Walthamstow dog card inside the Evening Standard, which led him to the track where he became mesmerised by greyhounds and the concept of greyhound racing. That love eventually cost him a fortune spent on the game, in addition to the 6 greyhounds he bought, Etherington admits.
The former footballer also spoke of a month when he had to walk halfway home without petrol in his car and lost the change in his bet, despite earning £30,000 a week.
Looking back now, Etherington believes that problem gambling is not about ill will because it is a condition that can be easily induced and is difficult to escape without proper help.
Luckily for him, he had the support of his then girlfriend, now wife, who at one point organized an intervention with his mom and dad, eventually managing to induce guilt in the player, making him realize that it wasn't just himself who hurt him, but everyone around him who loved and cared about him.
It wasn't gambling addiction that interrupted his football career at its peak, but Matthew Etherington's experience can be invaluable to other players who struggle with it.