Former footballer reveals bankruptcy advice after financial woes

The average person may never see the kind of fortunes that footballers take home, but there have been many cases where even these highly paid sportsmen have ended up in serious financial strife.

A case in point is former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright, who has revealed in his autobiography that he received poor financial advice that saw him squander his wealth. He ended up losing no less than eight houses and was at one stage advised to declare himself bankrupt, so serious were his problems. These were exacerbated by a messy and expensive divorce.

However, the former player, now a TV pundit, said he resisted this temptation and has continued to try to work through his problems, although he faces ongoing issues with HMRC over various income tax issues.

Discussing the advice given, he said: “It’s not just me, either: there’s a whole generation of footballers out there who are in the same boat and were wrongly advised and badly treated.

“The wave of financial advisers that appeared around the 1990s took our money to carry out the advice we paid them to give us but never paid the tax.”

Wright said his refusal to go bankrupt is linked to his desire to maintain his TV career and other people in financial difficulties may similarly decide they would also like to avoid bankruptcy, either because of the stigma involved or because it might automatically disqualify them from their job.

Taking good advice may be particularly important for someone who is unable to command the kind of money that Wright is paid for his broadcasting work, or that he might earn from sales of his book.

However, the case of Wright and other footballers does go to show that anyone might need help with debt, even if they start from a position of having had a lot of money at one stage.

Other footballers who have found themselves in financial trouble include former Northern Ireland winger Keith Gillespie, whose autobiography How Not To Be A Football Millionaire detailed how he ended up bankrupt after a gambling habit that saw him run up losses of as much as £100,000 a day.

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