Friday, 29 November 2013

Betting culture at Newcastle was 'team bonding' says Michael Chopra, who puts his losses at £2million

The former Magpies forward has lifted the lid on gambling in football, revealing players would lose "£30,000 a time"

Big money: Chopra thinks he lost £2million betting with team-mates
Newcastle stars would lose “£30,000 a time” playing cards on the team bus, as football’s shocking gambling culture was revealed yesterday.
Top Toon players staked thousands on the turn of a card, leading to striker Michael Chopra losing £2million during his career after being sucked into gambling as a teenager, a jury was told.
Alan Shearer, Craig Bellamy, Michael Owen and Kieron Dyer were at Newcastle when tens of thousands changed hands on the way to away games, Newcastle Crown Court heard.
Explaining his gambling addiction, Chopra revealed: “I will just say it, I have probably lost about £2m.
"I started gambling when I was 17 when I first broke through with Newcastle. I was travelling with the first team and there was a lot of gambling on the bus and I got involved.
”The stars at that time were Alan Shearer, Kieron Dyer, Titus Bramble, Craig Bellamy – big names. Michael Owen joined about four years later. You were talking thousands being gambled, anything up to £30,000. We would go to the bank in the morning before we travelled.
“It was team bonding. You were taking money off each other, but also having a laugh. At 18 I realised it was a problem when I owed a company about £85,000.
“It got to the point when I would set my alarm for three or four in the morning to bet on games in South America. It was taking over my life.”
Blackpool striker Chopra, 29, lifted the lid on the card school culture at the trial of friend John Somerville.
Joseph Lewins, 55, Christopher Bacon, 34, Daniel Chisholm, 51, and Somerville, 51, all deny conspiracy to supply class A drugs. The trial continues.

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