Why do so many footballers end up broke? FourFourTwo investigates...

Illustration: Joe Waldron

A footballer who played for three of the game’s biggest clubs sobs after learning he’ll soon be made bankrupt. The chairman of a Premier League outfit sighs, before granting his captain an advance on his wages for the last time following another costly defeat at the roulette table. Inside a court, a player pleads with a judge to reduce his child maintenance payments after frittering away his fortune.

These are not plot lines from an episode of Footballers’ Wives, but real stories unfolding in the private lives of three players currently in English football. Forty per cent of their trade suffer from financial problems during their careers and then in retirement. But when the average annual wage of a Premier League footballer is so vast, how on earth do so many fall upon hard times?

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