Former Wellington Phoenix star Paul Ifill has shared the story of his gambling addiction, and how it led to him betting on matches in which he played.
Ifill (44), now head coach for Christchurch United, has spoken openly about his addiction, and his efforts to help others facing problems, in an interview with What A Lad podcast host James Marshall.
“I reckon I lost about £2 million (more than NZ$4 million),” Ifill told Marshall.
In the 1 hour 21 min podcast, Ifill revealed he had bet on himself to score first in Phoenix games “which is definitely highly illegal.”
When he was with English clubs Sheffield United and Crystal Palace, he would gamble up $20,000 a day,
“I think I was earning £9000 a week at Sheffield United and Palace and I was probably spending £10,000 or £11,000 a week.
“You just keep borrowing, keep getting credit, and you get the odd win and [that would] just get you across the line for a little bit.”
Ifill said he tackled his addiction six years ago and hasn’t bet since.
He has shared his experiences with rugby clubs in their efforts to educate players about the perils of gambling, especially on their own sports.
The podcast episode includes Ifill’s accounts of:
- His first pro football contract and how it worked out to be less than his academy contract.
- How a Scratchy addiction as a teenager turned into a gambling addiction.
- How Paul ended up in New Zealand with the Wellington Phoenix.
- Examples of his gambling excesses, including betting on raindrops and flies.
- How his negative self-talk held him back from becoming an English Premiership superstar.
- How he managed to eventually break his gambling addiction and remain clean for six years.
Watch Paul Ifill’s interview
Here is the full interview between Ifill and host James Marshall: