Etherington admits gambling addiction

West Ham winger Matthew Etherington has admitted that he gambled so much last season that he hit ‘rock bottom’.

Etherington, 26, who starred in West Ham’s 3-0 win over Reading last weekend with two goals, visited the Sporting Chance clinic last season. He was gambling away the majority of his wages on horseracing, greyhounds and poker whilst his then current team-mate Roy Carroll also checked into rehab for a gambling problem.

In fact, when current manager Alan Curbishley took over from previous manager Alan Pardew, he found a first-team squad immersed in a gambling culture as West Ham languished in the lower doldrums of the league. Curbishley immediately placed a ban on gambling.     

Etherington believes his gambling problem led to a big dip in form last season which almost saw him leave Upton Park in January and then again last season.

“I did hit rock bottom last season and it was probably a reflection on my form," Etherington admitted to The Mirror.

"I didn't play anywhere near my best. I realise that and I am sure a lot of other people realise that. I let myself down and I realise that. I hold my hands up, but I dealt with it and all that's behind me now and I'm looking forward. I've made a great step forward.

"You have got to maintain that and keep on the right side of it. I am more than over that, more than happy in my life now. I wasn't happy last year but I moving on and hopefully will keep taking the right steps.”

West Ham’s survival last season was nothing short of spectacular as Carlos Tevez (now at Manchester United) almost single-handedly kept the Hammers up. However, Etherington believes West Ham have the quality to achieve relative success this season if they can find some consistency.

“It was unbelievable. Our run at the end of the season was title-winning form. This year is a matter of doing it week-in, week-out and we know we can do it because we've got a lot of quality now. If we do, then we should finish in the top half of the table."

Editor, - 2007-09-04 11:08:23

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