Former Newcastle United forward Michael Chopra opened up about his gambling addiction and how he has turned his life around. He admitted to gambling £20,000 a day and how he was pursued by loan sharks. Chopra sought professional help and was admitted into the Sporting Chance clinic that was set up by former Arsenal captain Tony Adams. A decade has passed since then and Chopra has turned his life around.
“I will always reach out to someone who needs advice because you don’t know what drastic action they might take. I want to try to help,” former Newcastle United forward Michael Chopra said. “They came up to me and asked me for my autograph and said I better get myself into the club and get that money now. They said they knew what car I was driving and they would follow me until I paid them. They said they knew what school my little boy went to and where my parents lived and where I lived in Ipswich. I felt sick that I had put my family in that situation from my gambling.”
“I was a youth-team player at Newcastle earning £70 a week and there were five or six of us who would put £1 or £2 in slot machines at an amusement arcade,” he added. “It helped kill the time while we waited for our bus to take us home. That is where it probably all started. As soon I as turned 17, I was on £500 a week, then £3,500, then £6,000-£10,000 at Cardiff – I doubled my wages at Sunderland, and it started to become a big problem. Sunderland sent me to a specialist hospital and I was staying in a hotel around the corner from the hospital. I’d do the classes at the hospital but as soon as I finished I’d go straight into a nearby betting shop because I didn’t want to help myself.”