Alcoholic England football legend Kenny Sansom today reveals he’s ready to die.
In a heartbreaking interview, the tormented homeless former Arsenal star finally admits defeat in his battle with the booze .
He tells how he’s facing his first Christmas alone after being dumped by his fiancée and becoming estranged from his family.
And last week he turned down an offer from an old team-mate to get him back in rehab.
“I’m in the worst place I’ve ever been – I’ve never been this low,” said a tearful 58-year-old Kenny.
“I want to kill myself . I don’t feel like I’ve got anything left to live for.
“I want to forget my life. I can’t handle life any more. If I could end it now, I would.
“I know what I’m saying will hurt a lot of people, but I feel I need to get it out and be honest about how I feel.”
Kenny met our reporter at a budget hotel last week.
Drinking white wine from a teacup, he admitted he has been borrowing money from pals and relying on the goodwill of hotel owners to give him a cheap bed for the night.
Kenny told how police and paramedics were called out last week amid fears he was about to end it all. He says he has just £50 to his name.
His pitiful plight is a far cry from his glory days. The renowned left back played in three Wembley cup finals and won 86 caps for England in a glittering 20-year career.
But even then his love of booze led to him being nicknamed “Mr Chablis”. Since retiring in 1994 his life has been devastated by it.
The latest shattering blow has been his split from fiancée Denise Mullins, 60, after ten turbulent years together.
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His voice breaking with emotion, Kenny said: “My relationship with Denise has killed me. Our relationship was just gone.
“I did a lot of bad things, said a lot of bad things. I was horrible to her. I’ve become a horrible drunk. I can feel myself becoming more aggressive.”
The impact booze has had on him is clear to see. He’s bloated, unshaven and rarely changes his clothes.
“This is the worst I’ve ever felt,” Kenny admits.“I haven’t brushed my teeth for seven days. I don’t know if it’s depression.
“I’m in a state. I know I’m drinking myself to death, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop drinking. I don’t want to stop, that’s the truth.
“Last week, two police officers came to see me and said they were worried I was going to hurt myself because of things I’d been saying.
“Paramedics arrived and spent three hours with me. They wanted to take me to hospital, but I refused. I wanted to be on my own.”
For Kenny, coping with life after football has been impossible.
On the pitch he was one of the country’s finest defenders and was England’s most capped full-back until 2011 when he was overtaken by Ashley Cole.
But while many retired players move into management, coaching or TV punditry Kenny has been drowning in booze.
“Football was so easy for me. I went on a pitch and it was a piece of p***, but life now isn’t. I can’t handle it. I feel s***,” he said.
“I’m drinking four bottles of dry white wine a day. I used to always drink Mateus Rose, but I’ve moved to this now because it’s stronger and I need it to be able to feel any effect.
“I know I’ve got a massive problem, but I love drink. It makes me feel better.
“When I drink, I don’t have to worry about life any more. I’ve gone six months without drinking before, but I don’t think I can do it this time.”
The divorced dad of three faces a lone battle. He is no longer in contact with ex-wife Elaine or his three children – and he admits he has no one else to blame but himself.
He said: “I miss them all and I wish I could get Elaine back, but they won’t speak to me. It’s all my fault.”
Kenny still feels guilty for walking out on his 29-year marriage and leaving his family saddled with debt after he met Denise in a Marbella bar in 2006.
He said: “This Christmas Day will be the first one I’ve ever spent on my own. I’ll just sit here and drink.
“I’ve lost everything – my family, my houses, all because of drink and gambling.
“I like to think I gave my kids everything and I was a good dad, at least until I started to drink.
“But alcohol has ruined my life and the lives of quite a few other people around me as well.
“I know I’ve let my kids down. Thinking about it makes me want to cry my eyes out.”
Kenny, who earned £1,200 a week in his heyday, now has a monthly income of £622.
The cash is his Professional Footballers Association pension and half of that goes to his ex-wife.
What he has left is blown on gambling and booze.
He said: “Drink is hurting me, but I think gambling is even worse. I had £1,400 from winnings ten days ago but I lost it all in an hour on a roulette machine.
“The only thing that stopped me from spending every penny on that machine was I knew I had to save some to be able to buy wine.
“I drank three bottles to help me get over it.”
On Monday, Kenny travelled to Gatwick where he was due to get on a flight to a rehab clinic in Dublin.
It was organised by his old Arsenal team-mate and former Republic of Ireland star Niall Quinn.
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But when he got there, he refused to get on the plane.
“Niall sorted it all out for me, but I realised I couldn’t go. I appreciate everything he tried to do for me, but I turned it down as I knew I would let him down. I just want to be honest.”
The next day he was back in a pub in London. “I said to the barman, ‘Don’t use my name, call me Graham or something.
“I don’t want people to recognise me’. Fans buy drinks as they want to talk about my football days.”
Kenny staggers from one disaster to another.
Two months ago, football fan Russell Brand drove him to a rehab clinic in Coventry where he arranged an 18-week stay for him – but Kenny only lasted days before checking out.
Last month, he was in casualty twice in six days and spent a night in hospital fearing he would lose his left leg.
Kenny, who also played for Crystal Palace, QPR, Newcastle United and Everton, said: “I’ve got a problem with my foot and I could lose it and my leg.
“I really don’t want to end up in a wheelchair. It is giving me a lot of pain and I know I’m not well.
“I used to drink even more, but it’s taking a bigger effect on me physically now and my health is deteriorating.
“I feel sick and shaky every morning and it’s getting worse. If I don’t drink, I can’t sleep. I lay awake cuddling myself.”
Kenny was last night given a heartfelt message of support from John Lukic – the Arsenal goalie who played alongside him in the 2-1 FA Cup Final win over Liverpool in 1987.
Lukic, 56, said: “He is a fantastic guy. He needs to know he has the love of so many people at a time when he really needs it. We are all there for him and we will do anything we can.”
The Sunday People has paid for a hotel room in Bromley, South East London, to keep Kenny off the streets over Christmas.
Kenny said: “Loads of people will tell me what I need to do. But I know the only person who can help me is me. Somehow I need to find the strength to do this.”
- If you think you need help with a drink problem, please call Alcoholics Anonymous on 0800 9177 650 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org