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Ex-Liverpool striker Paul Walsh lifts lid on alcohol problems

Ex-Liverpool striker Paul Walsh lifts lid on alcohol problems
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Paul Walsh has been volunteering to help others with similar struggles at the Priory Manor Clinic in Southampton.

Former Liverpool and Tottenham striker Paul Walsh has revealed how his alcohol problem was so bad he could not make training on a Monday and was was "drunk-driving" everywhere.

Walsh, whose problems began in his late teens, said during his time at Spurs he used drink as a "solution" to his problems but it resulted in him feeling suicidal after a physical altercation with his son in which he knocked his mother to the floor.

"There was a drink culture in football at that time, so it was allowed, if you like," Walsh, who has been in recovery for four and a half years, told the Priory's Sporting Highs and Lows podcast.

"I had a period at Spurs where I drunk-drove all over the place, I couldn't go to training on a Monday.

"I was fighting with people, falling out with people...masking my poor performance with girls and nights out.

"All my insecurities and fears, when I had a few beers, went out the window. Drink was a solution to me, it became a solution right the way through.

"I couldn't sleep after a game, so I used to drink my head to sleep."

The issue came to a head at his father's 80th birthday party.

"As we stood outside the restaurant I turned round and smashed my son in the face. We had a scuffle, knocked my mum over," he added.

"The next day when I got my head off the pillow I felt suicidal. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired."

He sought help from alcoholics anonymous and has been volunteering to help others with similar struggles at the Priory Manor Clinic in Southampton for the past three years.

"I have to do a lot of meetings, I still do at least five a week," said Walsh, who made more than 500 professional appearances – more than 200 of which came for Liverpool and Tottenham – scored over 100 goals and won five England caps during a 17-year career in which he also played for Luton, Portsmouth, QPR, Manchester City and Charlton.

"I constantly have to say the same things to remind this thick head what it's like if it's left alone untreated."

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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester UnitedMan Utd19124336251140
2Manchester CityMan City18115231131838
3Leicester CityLeicester19122535211438
4Liverpool1997337221534
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs1896333171633
6Everton1710252821732
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham199552722532
8Aston Villa1792631181329
9Chelsea1985633231029
10Southampton188552621529
11Arsenal198382319427
12Leeds UnitedLeeds187293034-423
13Crystal Palace196582233-1123
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves196492129-822
15Burnley185491022-1219
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle1954101832-1419
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton193882229-717
18Fulham1826101527-1212
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom1925121543-2811
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd1912161032-225

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