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Arsenal legend Adams says ‘scary’ reflection made him have a mental breakdown

Date Posted,May 28, 2017

England legend Tony Adams has admitted his own appearance caused him to have a mental breakdown last year.

The former Arsenal defender, 50, said he looked at himself in the mirror and found his reflection ‘scary’.

Despite kicking the bottle 20 years ago after almost a decade of alcoholism , the ex-Three Lions captain also revealed he still goes from ‘one emotional breakdown to the next’.

Recalling his boozy, prostitute-laden benders in the late 1980s and 90s , Adams told The Sunday Times: “I used to smash bottles on my head, form of self-abuse. Self-destruction button. Didn’t like myself, big nose, big ears, gangly, fear, insecurity.”

He still has demons, he admits, and started taking anti-depressants last year.

“I looked in the mirror and saw my dad (who died aged 66 in 2002). I had a beard and glasses and looked more like him than me. It was scary,” he said.

The episode is detailed in is new book entitled Sober.

Adams is now head coach of Granada CF (Photo: Getty)

It saw him lose a stone in weight, suffer depression and panic attacks and he could not stop crying.

His new story comes 19 years after his first book, Addicted, which detailed his alcoholism while at the top if his playing career.

But Adams said: “I don’t let go of anything. I have to go from one emotional breakdown to the next, one painful experience to the next.”

Describing how he dealt with last year’s plunge into depression after he turned 50, he insisted: “I didn’t pick up a drink, buy a Ferrari, s**g my secretary or leave my wife. I just felt it and it passed. This too shall pass.”

In 1992, in the depths of his illness, he married Jane Shea, a barmaid and drug addict. He remembers them driving on the M25 with their two children in the back of the car while he was drunk and she was asleep, stoned, at the wheel.

“We were sick as dogs,” he said.

After drunkenly crashing his car he spent two months in prison but said it was oddly enjoyable, recalling: “It was paradise for this sick, sick man. I can see why people do get institutionalised.”

In action in 1996, the year he got sober (Photo: Getty)
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He sought help for his addiction after a seven week booze bender when England lost to Germany on penalties in the Euro 96 semi-finals.

He says young footballers these days also need help, which he tries to provide through Sporting Chance, his charity helping sportspeople with addictions.

“You give a 19-year-old £400,000 a year, I know what I would do at that age — sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. They just go bonkers with it,” said Adams, who is enduring a tough time as manager of Granada – having steered them to relegation to the Spanish second tier recently.

Adams recalls winning £14,000 at the 1988 Epsom Derby and not having a penny left the following morning. “We were ripping fifties up and throwing them out the minibus window,” he says.

He says he continued to spend after beating the booze. In the book Adams recalls multiple cars, homes and a speedboat bought on impulse. He spent £27,000 renting a Hampstead flat for six months that he didn’t spend one night in.

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