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How Gambling Ruined the Football Career of One Man

  1. Gambling addiction continues to be a growing problem in the UK, one that affects thousands of people from all walks of life, regardless of race, colour, age, gender, and background. With the growth of the internet and the ease with which it can be accessed from mobile devices, more and more individuals are becoming addicted. This addiction affects not only the individual but also their family and friends.

    A gambling addiction can lead to relationship breakdowns and financial hardship, with many sufferers losing their homes, their families, and their jobs. Problem gambling is known to be especially prevalent among sports stars, with a recent report indicating that many footballers and cricketers have gambling habits.

    Helpless

    Scott Davies has spoken out about his struggles with gambling, a battle that left him ‘absolutely helpless’ and which had a devastating impact on his football playing career. Davies, who played for Crawley Town, said that his addiction became so bad that when he was playing games for the club, he was placing bets during half time. He believes that his addiction led to him leaving the Football League. He said, “My ability has never been doubted at any club. Managers have wanted to build teams around me, even Steve Evans at Crawley. It was never my ability; it was my application that let me down.”

    Davies is now playing football for Wealdstone in the National League South, and he says that his problem was that he was too focused with things off the pitch rather than on it. He said that he couldn’t wait to get out of training each day so that he could gamble and that this lack of commitment to the game led to him suffering. He went on: “I didn't apply myself like other pros did, and now they're reaping the rewards and I'm not.”

    Gambling Habit

    Davies started gambling when travelling to away games as a teenager when players would play poker together for money. However, he says he is now free from gambling after entering rehab during the summer. He is trying to get his life back on track and is working with younger professionals to teach them about the dangers of gambling. He said, “It was a massive part of my life. I went to rehab in the summer for a month – I missed pre-season because I had to get it sorted. The addiction just got hold of me.”

    He admitted that as a youngster he would look forward to travelling to away games because that was when the team could sit and play cards for hours at a time. He said, “It's ridiculous really, it almost turned into a card school rather than a football team.”

    Davies has been asked to give talks at a number of Premier League youth teams as the problem is becoming so widespread, and it is often a problem that begins at this stage of a player’s career. He said he was telling his story in the hopes that these young players will not go down the same route as he did. Davies believes that gambling could become a huge problem because young players now days are earning huge sums of money but do not get enough advice about what to do with it.

    Getting Help

    Davies is passionate about helping others, but he knows that young players will not stop gambling unless they want to. He says that he did not want to stop and did not feel the need to because he was earning so much money. However, he recognised that his gambling addiction was having an adverse impact on his life and so sought the help he needed. Since completing a programme of rehabilitation, he said, “I feel better than ever having stopped now. I don't find it at all hard. I used to wake up and think I couldn't wait for the bookies to open, but now I forget they even exist, which is probably the nicest feeling. As long as I can stay off it then I'll be happier than I've ever been, and it's all good right now."

    1. Sources:
      http://www.crawleynews.co.uk/Davies-left-helpless/story-28233745-detail/story.html
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