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I am a former Newcastle & Sheffield Wednesday star

A former NEWCASTLE United player has told how he used to spend his monthly salary in days – and ended up living on just £5 a week.

Center back Karl Colley has opened up about his gambling problems during his professional football career.

Karl Colley has revealed he battled depression off the pitchCredit: YouTube/Under The Cosh

After signing for Sheffield Wednesday aged just 17, he ended up moving to Newcastle and playing under Peter Beardsley.

However, the move brought mental health issues and he ended up being dropped by non-league teams.

Now he has opened up about the depression he endured – and the gambling addiction it caused.

He told Undr The Cosh podcast: “I was surrounded by gambling growing up. My father was a gambler, my grandfather and uncle were also gamblers.

“My dad used to let me outside the bookies but you couldn’t see what was going on inside. You could just hear the commentary, I was always intrigued.

“When I would leave Newcastle’s training ground, the only place I would feel safe was the bookies. I was like a child lost in a big city. When I’m at the bookies for hours, I’m obviously playing more money and it gets worse, but this is my safe place.”

Things got so bad that Karl started betting every 30 seconds.

He explained: “When I was betting nothing else mattered. That’s when you know you have a problem. My monthly salary would be gone in a week, maybe less. Thousands of pounds. I remember living with the five of us in Newcastle for a few weeks.”

Colley was sacked by Goole when he tried to attack a rival supporter after being sent off in 2014.

He says the gambling struggles continued during his time in Non-League, adding: “I was just playing for money, that’s all I ever knew, I was playing for money. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind, I was still gambling, I was still suffering from depression.

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“Nobody was aware of it because I hadn’t opened up yet. People knew I was a gambler, but the depression and where my head was – no one knew.

“You’d see me on a Saturday and I’d be smiling and laughing with a few quid in my pocket. No one saw me struggling the other six days a week, falling and facing my demons.”

A responsible player is someone who:

  • Set time and money limits before playing
  • They only play with money they can afford to lose
  • Never follow their losses
  • Don’t bet if they are upset, angry or depressed

For help with a gambling problem call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or visit www.gamstop.co.uk to be banned from all UK regulated gambling sites.

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