Tony Adams has opened up about his alcoholic past, admitting that even when it seemed glamorous the reality was very different.
The former England defender, who became Arsenal’s most successful captain during his two decades at the club, gave up drinking in 1996 following a 12-year downward spiral that led to blackouts, prison and intensive care.
He eventually sobered up before leading Arsenal to two more Premier League and FA Cup doubles under Arsene Wenger, but the plight of contemporaries like Kenny Sansom and Paul Gascoigne have shown how different life could have been for Adams had he not altered his path.
Writing in his new autobiography, Sober, which is being serialised in the Sun, Adams revealed it was after a four-day bender that he recognised the need for change.
He wrote: “On the Wednesday, I went to a restaurant and nightclub in Chelsea called Barbarella’s and got smashed. I can’t remember where I stayed. I do remember p****** and s****** in my pants, peeling them off and going out again.
“I remember bits about the Thursday. I went to a strip club off Piccadilly. I would get girls there. You could take them off somewhere and pay them. I was drinking with twin girls.
“It sounds glamorous — all sex and drugs and rock’n’roll — but it wasn’t. It was all s*** and passing out.
He added: “I was completely lost. The alcohol wasn’t working for me any more and nor was the sex. Nothing was.”
Adams has turned his life around since, winning four major trophies as a player before retiring and going into coaching.
He had spells at Wycombe Wanderers, Portsmouth and Gabala before taking his current post managing La Liga side Granada.
Away from football, Adams remarried and had three more children. He has also written two books.
SOBER: Football. My Story. My Life, published by Simon & Schuster, is out on June 1.