Ex-footballer Warren Aspinall 'almost took own life'

Former footballer Warren Aspinall has explained how an addiction to gambling almost drove him to take his life by standing in front of a train.

Aspinall, who played 133 times for Pompey, said after retiring the addiction spiralled out of control.

"I went down to the station and sat on the line, I was there for 10 minutes," Aspinall told BBC Late Kick Off.

"The train sounded its horn. I could have sat there and froze but something triggered and I got out of the way."

In a career that spanned 15 years, midfielder/forward Aspinall also played for Wigan Athletic, Everton, Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Carlisle United, Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion.

But throughout his career he struggled with a gambling addiction, which he estimates to have cost him £1m. Following retirement he struggled to fund the habit.

He recalls the day he tried to kill himself clearly - and credits his family for the reason he abandoned his suicide attempt.

"It was a Friday five years ago, just near Christmas," Aspinall told BBC Late Kick Off South.

"I'd just been paid for four weeks' work. £1900. I went to the bank, got £500 out over the counter. Lost it.

"Went back to the bank and got another £500 out and lost that. I was then into the bill money.

"I needed to get the money back, so went back to the bank just before it shut and lost it all. There were not many races left now, so I took my speed bank card out and took £400 out.

"So I thought right, I'm going to have a drink, put £20 in my back pocket, went to the bookies on the way, lost the £380 and went to the pub.

"All the lads were in there happy, I put a brave face on. Had a few drinks, spent my £20, borrowed £20, got drunk, got a few drinks bought for me.

"But I knew I was going to do it. I was planning it. I was getting more intoxicated. I knew what time the last train came from London to Portsmouth and I thought no-one will love me because I've let people down again. It's not the first time I've let people down.

"I went down to the train station and sat on the train line and I was there for 10 minutes. I sat there thinking about my children, my fiancee, and luckily enough I jumped out of the way of the train at the last minute.

"I could have sat there and froze but something triggered and I got out of the way. It was my children and my fiancee that made me move and I'm glad I did because the heartbreak they would have had without a father is unbelievable. I'm stronger now and I can be there for them."

Aspinall checked himself into the Sporting Chance clinic founded by former Arsenal and England star Tony Adams. He credits it with helping to turn his life around.

"I tell everyone about my problems because there are a lot of people suffering out there, in the bookmakers and in the pubs," he adds.

"You can't tell a gambler like you can an alcoholic. You can tell a drunk. I hid it very well from people.

"Certain people knew I had a problem - probably the person taking my money all the time. There are a lot of gamblers out there doing it from home now. You don't have to go to the bookies anymore, you can do it all online now.

"It's a killer. This disease is a killer. I know people who have killed themselves because of it. Some people have tried and failed.

"I do fall off but you have to get back on and get going again."