Etherington admits huge losses

Etherington claims card games between team-mates were a problem

during his time at West Ham. The 28-year-old revealed he was asked

by family members to seek help for his addiction last year, and he

recently disclosed he had been attending meetings of Gambling

Anonymous in Birmingham. He joined Stoke from West Ham in January

2009, and confirmed he had heavy debts when he moved to the

Britannia Stadium. “I managed to pay off some debt but there was

still some outstanding, about £800,000,” Etherington told the

Mail on Sunday. “But I lost more than that in all. About

£1.5million. Definitely.” He explained how a card-playing

culture at West Ham affected his emotions heading into matches, and

claims the club’s then manager, Alan Pardew, put a halt to the

games. Etherington said: “There were card schools at West Ham and

it did get a little bit out of hand. People were taking three,

four, five grand on the bus with them. When that was gone, you were

borrowing more. “You could win 20 grand or lose 20 grand on a

single journey, which is ludicrous. Then some would play in their

rooms. It wouldn’t just stop on the bus. “It can’t be good for team

morale. Any normal human being, if you are losing a lot of money,

you are not going to be happy about it and you are going to resent

the person taking it off you. “You could be going out onto a pitch

knowing that your win bonus or appearance money that day is more or

less down the drain because you have lost it already. Alan Pardew

stopped it, which he was right to do.”