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More than 122 footballers in jail, charity reveals

London, Mon, 30 Jan 2012 ANI

London, Jan 30 (ANI): More than 120 former football stars are behind bars for drug dealing, assault, car theft and shoplifting after being ditched by their clubs.


Last month, former Manchester United ace Ronnie Wallwork, 34, was jailed for 15 months for selling stolen car parts.


In November, ex-Leyton Orient defender Elliot Omozusi, 22, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years for witness intimidation.


And in August last year, former Southend striker Tesfaye Bramble, 31, brother of Sunderland star Titus, 30, was jailed for four-and-a-half years for raping a teenage girl, according to charity Xpro.


Xpro, which helps players who have fallen on hard times since leaving the game, says many former players suffer from addictions and depression.


"It is a truly shocking situation and it is only going to get worse," the Daily Mail quoted Geoff Scott, the charity's chief executive, as saying.


"These are not public schoolboys we are dealing with here. These are inner-city kids who do not get good advice and make bad choices, especially when their clubs drop them," Scott said.


Current top footballers who have done porridge include QPR skipper Joey Barton, 29, who was caged for assault in 2008.


Ex-Plymouth goalkeeper Luke McCormick, 28, caused the deaths of Aaron Peak, 10, and brother Ben, eight, in 2008 in a booze-fuelled road smash and was sentenced to seven years.


Former Everton striker Duncan Ferguson, 40, was jailed in 1994 for assaulting a rival player on the pitch and Tony Adams, now 45, was banged up for drink-driving in 1990 while he was captain of Arsenal.


Scott, whose career with Birmingham and Stoke was cut short by injury, said Xpro was taking 400 calls a month from ex-players desperate for help.


"We are bracing ourselves for an epidemic of suicides, mental health problems, bankruptcies and criminal matters," he said.


Apprentices, often taking home about 1,500 pounds a week, were also turning to crime after failing to make the grade, he added. (ANI)


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