Crystal Palace forward Andros Townsend has opened up on his struggles with gambling, and revealed he once lost £46,000 in one night after placing a bad bet.
Townsend spoke openly about the financial difficulties he suffered from at a time he was earning £3,000 per-week.
Townsend revealed during a discussion with the Original Penguin X CALM Under The Surface podcast that he had gone out the night before a play-off game in 2012, and had lost upwards of £40k in one bet.
“The biggest amount I lost in one go was £46,000. On one bet,” he said.
“And I think this was a time when I was earning about £3,000 a week so that was a lot of my earnings gone in one bet.
“It was the night before the playoff semi-final with Birmingham where I was on loan, the night before.
“Luckily, I didn’t play the next day because I would have been a mess, but that was the worst.
“When I left Leeds on loan to go to Birmingham, I was in my car with no money in my account, barely enough petrol to get to Birmingham, I managed to get to Birmingham and then the hotel that I was staying in you had to pay to stay in the carpark.
“So I had money to get to Birmingham, but I had no money to pay for the carpark. Luckily the next day, the player liaison that picked me up, I made some sort of excuse; ‘lost my card blah blah blah, can you sort this?’, and he sorted it but that is how bad it got for me.
“I’d say today that I’m very fortunate that it did happen whilst I was single, whilst I was on £3,000 a week, as opposed to I sit here today with 2 kids and a Premier League player, so it would be a lot more catastrophic if I had this addiction now.”
Townsend, at one point, was charged by the FA for breaching anti-betting rules, and was forced to attend counselling for his problem.
The Crystal Palace winger referred to the charge as one of the lowest points of his career, as he detailed how he found out about the news.
“I was on holiday with my ex-partner in Cyprus at the time, and I got a phone call from the club secretary at Spurs telling me that I’d been charged by The FA on 76 counts of gambling charges,” Townsend continued.
“I had to withdraw from The U21 European Championships that summer and I thought my career was over. I’d played 10 or 11 games for QPR in the Premier League but my career hadn’t really taken off, and I genuinely thought my career was over. That was the lowest point, trying to get my head around possibly being banned for 6 months to a year, which was what was expected.”