Les Ferdinands has revealed he didn’t laugh like his Newcastle United team-mates when Keith Gillespie lost Â£ 62,000 at bookies because the couple’s parents knew how difficult it was to ‘make a note’.
Gillespie played a year’s salary in just two days in October 1995. Phone bets had just arrived and, with time to kill after practice, Gillespie had started betting thousands of pounds on them. horse races, dogs and football matches. .
After spending Â£ 47,000 on a day he calls ‘Black Friday’ Gillespie sought to recoup some of his money over the weekend but ended up an additional Â£ 15,000 in the red.
To put that success into perspective, Gillespie had never lost more than Â£ 10,000 in a day before.
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No one knew it at the time, but Gillespie had a crippling gambling addiction and the Northern Ireland international had even bet on a game he had played for Newcastle against Stoke days before.
There was another reason why no one suspected that something was wrong; such had been the performance of Gillespie at the time, Kevin Keegan went so far as to say that “he could be the best player in the country”.
However, a national newspaper quickly caught wind of Gillespie’s losses at bookies and Newcastle had to transfer money owed to the winger – signing fees and the like – to help him.
Keegan even personally phoned the bookmaker to assure him that he would be paid on a certain date.
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As Gillespie’s teammates tried to shed light on everything that had happened – it was, admittedly, another time – Ferdinand didn’t quite see it that way.
“Footballers being footballers you go there and the boys took the mickey from him,” he told Fever Pitch: The Rise of the Premier League.
âI still remember I was sitting in the sauna and he came in and said, ‘Why weren’t you laughing like all the other boys taking the p —? not taken the p —? ‘
âI said, ‘Well basically I know you know my mom, dad, mom, dad know what a pound sterling is and how hard it is to make it. a, so what you lost I don’t know ‘don’t see it as funny’.
“From a young boy who was away from home without the influence of his family around him … you are a footballer, it is considered that you should just keep going.”
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