Gambling meant Leeds United loanee could not afford car park

FORMER Leeds United loan winger Andros Townsend has experienced several mental health issues in his life – from losing his brother as a youngster to struggling with a gambling addiction during his professional career.

Speaking candidly about his experiences, on the Original Penguin X Campaign Against Living Miserably Under The Surface podcast, the Crystal Palace player revealed he lost £46,000 in one bet when on £3,000 a week, with just enough petrol to get from Leeds to his next loan destination in Birmingham but could not afford to pay for the car park.

On his earlier gambling issues, the Londoner, who made seven appearances for Leeds in early 2012 while on loan from Spurs, said: “The biggest amount I lost in one go was £46,000. On one bet.

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“And I think this was a time when I was earning about £3,000 a week, so that was a lot of my earnings gone in one bet.

Troubled: Leeds United's Andros Townend in 2012.

It was the night before the playoff semi-final with Birmingham where I was on loan, the night before. Luckily, I didn’t play the next day as I would have been a mess, but that was the worst.

“When I left Leeds on loan to go to Birmingham, I was in my car with no money in my account, barely enough petrol to get to Birmingham, I managed to get to Birmingham and the hotel that I was staying in, you had to pay to stay in the car park. So I had money to get to Birmingham, but had no money to pay for the car park.

“Luckily, the next day, the player liaison picked me up and I made some sort of excuse; ‘lost my card blah, blah, blah, can you sort this?’, and he sorted it but that is how bad it got for me.

“I’d say today that I’m very fortunate that it did happen whilst I was single, whilst I was on £3,000 a week, as opposed to I sit here today with two kids and a Premier League player, so it would be a lot more catastrophic if I had this addiction now.”

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