Football is one career many parents what their children to chase because of the kind of money that is in it. In this article, we will look at football players who had this dream and then blew it up. We will be looking at some very key footballers who played this beautiful game, had the money but then blew it up as they ended up broke.
English Premier League Football Players who Went Bankrupt After Retirement
Our focus will be on the English Premier League football players and will analyse what led to their fallout and how they became bankrupt despite playing the beautiful game to the highest level. This list is in no particular other.
Chris Sutton is a retired England forward football player who is probably best remembered for his time at Blackburn Rovers where he formed a formidable strike partnership nicknamed the ‘SAS’ alongside Alan Shearer. The stalkier set a British record transfer fee when he was signed by Blackburn. He is a Premier League title winner and it was with Blackburn that he won the league.
Sutton also played for Norwich, Chelsea, Celtic, Birmingham, Aston Villa and, briefly, non-league Wroxham. The one-time England international Sutton was declared bankrupt in 2014, following ‘poor financial advice’ he took.
Another footballer player is Nigerian left-sided winger/full-back player Celestine Babayaro made his name in Belgium with Anderlecht before arriving in the English Premier League where he joined Chelsea in 1997. Babayaro spent eight years with the Blues, at which time he was earning a reported $45,000 a week. He later played for Newcastle United before joining L.A. Galaxy, but only played 45 minutes for the Galaxy in 2008 before being released by the club.
Celestine Babayaro’s later career was a tragic one after he lost his younger brother to tuberculosis in 2007, and could not afford the upkeep of his home in Newcastle. He later moved to Portsmouth but could still not cope he was declared bankrupt in January 2011.
This player was a star at Manchester United and he is most likely the worst Premier League signing, worst Premier League player, or player who has lost their fortune. Unlike most players, Djemba-Djemba was declared bankrupt when he should have been at his wealthiest, after two years at Manchester United.
The Cameroonian midfielder looked considerably out of place at Old Trafford and since leaving England he has played for an unusual array of sides, namely; Qatar SC, OB, Hapoel Tel-Aviv, Partizan, St. Mirren, Chennaiyin FC and Persebaya Surabaya of Indonesia.
Paul Merson is best remembered for spending 12 years and the vast majority of his playing career at Arsenal as a right-winger. When he was there he played over 300 games for the North London club. After his retirement, he fell into very serious trouble with drug, drink and gambling addictions. He was arrested following a crash due to drunk driving and suffered badly from his addictions, but his lowest point came in 2008 when he gambled on his own house and was left homeless.
Merson struggled with addiction throughout his career but it hit him hardest after retirement, he lost around $11 million to his addictions. ‘Merse’, as he is often known, is currently trying to get his life back on track, working for Sky Sports as well as working the after-dinner speaking course.
Former Scotland, Liverpool and Leeds United players’ career spanned from 1992 to 2009 and was spent almost exclusively in the Premier League. This meant Matteo fell into arguably the first generation of footballers who should, in theory, never have had to work again after retirement and still live comfortably.
The Leeds legend who reached a Champions League semi-final with the Yorkshire club began gambling lucrative sums and entered the world of racehorse ownership whilst suffering an injury-plagued end to his career. By the time of his eventual retirement, Matteo had already lost seven-figure sums gambling. In August 2015, he was declared bankrupt.
Keith Gillespie was a Manchester United player who played alongside the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Gary Neville in the 1992 Manchester United FA Youth Cup team. He made his debut at Old Trafford aged only 17 but headed to Newcastle at the age of 20 in a big-money move.
Gillespie went on to play over a century of games for Newcastle United, Blackburn and Sheffield United, as well as turning out for an array of other clubs before finally calling it a day in 2013 at the age of 38.
He lost the entire $11 million fortune that he had amassed, largely due to his gambling addiction. He also made very poor investments in property and film, he was declared bankrupt in 2010 and released a book entitled ‘How Not To Be A Football Millionaire’.
John Arne Riise
John Arne Riise had arguably an even more impressive career than his compatriot John Carew. Riise spent 15 years in France, England and Italy’s top flights, where he will have earned a small fortune. He is best remembered for his time at Liverpool, where he won seven trophies, by far the most notable being the historic 2005 Champions League victory.
He spent last season in Cyprus with APOEL and is the most capped player in Norway’s national team’s history, having made 110 appearances for his country. He was declared bankrupt while he was still playing for Liverpool in 2007 two years after they won the Champions League with unpaid debts of around $150,000.
David James is probably the wealthiest soccer player to have lost his entire fortune. The former England goalkeeper has been in professional soccer for 26 years and has career earnings above $30 million. On top of that, he has also been involved in lucrative endorsement deals, most notably with Armani.
In total, James probably earned around $40 million, yet he was officially bankrupt in May 2014. His financial situation had been on a downward spiral since 2005, after an expensive divorce from his wife. James, who has played over 1,000 games in soccer, including 53 for England, had a huge auction of his possessions to raise money and began working for BT.
Probably the most football player on this list, and the most highly regarded during his playing days, George Best is one of the game’s eternal greats. In his 11 years at Manchester United, he became one of the best players in the world, winning the Ballon d’Or in 1968, the same year United lifted the European Cup.
Although football players earned significantly less when Best was playing, he was still one of the highest-earning men in his profession, and his celebrity status and looks meant he earned a great deal. Despite this, Best had spent it all by 1980.
He famously quipped, “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.” Best’s alcoholism not only cost him his entire fortune but also alienated him, leaving him with serious health issues and eventually killing him.