EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Arsenal star 'lost control again', battles demons

By Mirror: Thursday, March 14th 2019 at 11:00 GMT +3 | Football
Paul Merson during his playing days at arsenal [Courtesy]

This is the moment Paul Merson breaks down in tears as he confesses his demons have returned.

The former football ace sobs on ITV’s Harry’s Heroes show, as he admits: “My gambling is out of control.”

The star, 50, who has seven children with three wives, weeps: “I’m struggling with life at the moment. Gambling. I’ve lost control completely again.”

The midfielder, who won 21 caps for England, signed up for the documentary in a bid to get fit again. He was reunited with stars including David Seaman, Robbie Fowler, Neil “Razor” Ruddock, Matt Le Tissier and Chris Waddle.

In next week’s two shows, he speaks openly about his addictions to drugs, alcohol and gambling, while on a fishing trip with Seaman and Fowler.

“I’m struggling with life at the moment" - Merson [Courtesy]

Merson blew £7million on gambling during a colourful career during which he also battled booze and drugs.

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He once revealed he considered breaking his own fingers to stop himself phoning his bookie while at Aston Villa.

And the star admitted he later became broke after cashing in his £800,000 pension to go on a betting frenzy.

Speaking previously, Merson said: “I placed some silly wagers, £60,000 here, £80,000 there.

"My system was all over the place and I was gambling on absolutely anything and everything.

“I’d ring up the bookie and bet £10,000 on who would be the first batsman out at Lord’s that day. I was off my head.”

At one stage he was so hooked on betting, he told his pregnant wife to drive herself to hospital because he was following bets in an American football game.

Merson has a gambling problem [Courtesy]

He said “I was such an addict I even felt low when I won.”

Merson’s addictions spiralled when he shared a house with Paul Gascoigne and they played for Middlesbrough. He said: “We were the original screwed-up couple. It was like a timebomb waiting to go off – but it was a right laugh.”

After filming, Merson revealed he has gone back to Alcoholics Anonymous following a “meltdown”.

He claims the show made him realise he still has addiction issues plaguing his life.

He said: “I am back at AA. I have been going for nine weeks and my life is better. I had a meltdown, but it was for the good.”

On the show, he opens up to his team-mates and shocks them when he says he wanted to kill himself at one point because he felt so low.

The star said: “You have so much time on your hands... My life was completely and utterly out of control.

“I was major, major taking cocaine. I haven’t taken drugs since 1994, but it wouldn’t take long.

"Being an addict is hard... Addiction is a strong thing. It is weird how it takes you.

“I’m playing for England and have all the money in the world and yet I want to kill myself. I was lower than low.

“On the show, I talked a lot about my gambling, but afterwards, when I looked at the issues – it was the drinking.

“I realised the deep thing was the drink. If I have a drink, I have a bet. So I am not going to have a drink now.

“I am having help with the gambling and the drinking. I’m back in AA and my life is better. I have stopped drinking.”

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