Tearful football star Paul Merson admits his ‘life has fallen apart’ after the former England player suffered a gambling addiction relapse that left him feeling like a ‘crack addict’.
The 50-year-old had notoriously lost £7million, as he pummelled cash on booze, drugs and betting in the 1990s.
However, in a new ITV documentary set to air next week on, the father-of-three reveals he has once again been gripped by gambling.
Speaking to producers of the show, Merson breaks down and says he is ‘struggling badly’ with life.
Paul Merson (pictured above) is set to appear in a new ITV series which will air next week
The former Arsenal player (above in 1993) has struggling with a host of addictions including gambling
He adds: ‘Life’s fallen apart – gambling…I’ve just completely lost control, I’ve completely, again. I’m digging a hole – I can’t get out of it.
‘It’s the worst addiction in the world.’
Merson placed his first bet at the age of 16 with his Arsenal pay packet and revealed that he was still being given credit and being allowed to bet by bookmakers despite his well-publicised addictions.
The new ITV show will see Harry Redknapp (pictured above) try and get former players back to fitness
Pictured: (back row l-r) Manager Harry Redknapp, Lee Sharpe, Steve Howey, Mark Wright, David Seaman, Chris Waddle, Razor Ruddock. Mark Chamberlain, John Barnes.(l-r Front Row) Paul Merson, Robbie Fowler, Matt Le Tissier, Rob Lee, Ray Parlour
He described his urge to bet as ‘relentless’ and highlighted that he wagered money on sports such as football, snooker, cricket and basketball.
He added: ‘It’s so tiring it’s unbelievable.
‘Mentally draining, just sitting there, thinking where am I going to get more money to do this? It’s like…it’s literally like a crack addict. It is like a crack addict.
‘Exactly like that.
‘But, with crack, you couldn’t spend that kind of money on crack, it’s impossible. Impossible.’
David Seaman (left) and Paul Merson (right) both appear on the new ITV show
Paul Merson (above in 1993) has been battling addiction which led to the collapse of his first marriage
The former footballer once told how he squandered £20,000 in a single weekend and saw his first marriage break down in 1996 because of his addiction.
The new ITV show, called ‘Harry’s Heroes’ charts 13-ex England heroes trying to get back to fitness under ex-Spurs boss Harry Redknapp.
During the show Merson misses a training camp abroad due to a relapse and is filmed meeting ex-pro Drew Broughton, who has also battled addiction issues.
Merson told him: ‘If I’m being honest, I’m struggling at the moment, really am, with the gambling.
‘I find it very difficult. I’m back to virtually where I was many years ago. Sort of like now I’m just sort of like constantly gambling all the time and I don’t like myself. And it’s scary.
‘My life should be good.
‘It should be good. It should be like, two lovely kids, a lovely wife and my life should be good. And it’s literally going like that and I mean quickly and worryingly.’
He added that in the cab on the way, he broke down and said he had ‘had enough’.
‘It’s got to that stage now. There’s got to be something wrong with me. I’ve been in treatment, I’ve done it a few times. I’ve been to Arizona.
‘You know what, it was unbelievable at the time. It was unbelievable what they did. And that’s what scares me that I still went back and done what I’ve done now.’
Harry’s Heroes: The Full English is set to air on Monday 18 & Tuesday 19 March at 9pm on ITV.