Former Hibs and Scotland striker Garry O’Connor has revealed he spent his £4 million fortune on drugs, alcohol and fast cars.
And he has revealed he spent £35,000 to go into rehab – at the same US clinic that Paul Gascoigne attended – to hide his habit from the public after he was banned from football five years ago for testing positive for cocaine.
O’Connor said he snorted cocaine up to three times a week, spent £2m on Ferraris and Bentleys, thousands on designer tracksuits and bought £100 bottles of champagne.
In an interview, it was reported the 31-year-old, who was convicted of cocaine possession in Edinburgh in 2012, said he was “addicted to the party lifestyle”.
He had spent £1.3m on a mansion in Archerfield, East Lothian, and on a similar property in the West Midlands while playing for Birmingham City, but when his salary dropped he struggled to meet the repayments.
He is now living in a £65-a-week council house, and his wife, Lisa, is working in a tanning salon to help support the family.
He said he first tried cocaine while on a night out in Edinburgh, when he was a 19-year-old playing for Hibs.
O’Connor, who now plays for junior team Selkirk, said: “I feel bad that they [my kids] don’t have the inheritance that they should have.
“I always found myself in the company of people who had coke on offer all the time – it was too easy to take the drug on a night out.
“I knew I should never have put myself in that position but when you’ve got that much cash sloshing around you get carried away. My life was out of control but I kept it quiet.”
At the height of O’Connor’s career he was earning £18,000 a week, but he claims the pressure of performing on the park led him to drugs.
“I would never touch the stuff when I was playing, but if I was out injured we would end up going out two or three times a week and cocaine would always appear.
He added: “I never did it before a game. It was usually at the weekend then I’d try and get it out my system before training on Monday when I might get tested.”
At English Premier League side Birmingham City, his career went into freefall when he failed a drugs test in 2009, which led to his ban.
He said he was “disgusted” with himself because he let down his family and his country but said he was thankful he could now “move on”.