Ex-Newcastle United striker opens up on gambling addiction and the support he received from Roy Keane

Former Sunderland and Newcastle United striker Michael Chopra has opened up on his gambling addiction – and the support he received from Roy Keane.
Ex-Sunderland boss Roy KeaneEx-Sunderland boss Roy Keane
Ex-Sunderland boss Roy Keane

Chopra has spoken about his addiction as part of the TalkBanStop campaign from GamCare, who have launched as a 12-month pilot to offer three free tools to help people stop gambling – with support available via GamCare’s National Gambling Helpline, Gamban blocking software and GAMSTOP self-exclusion.

In a new film, released as part of the campaign, Chopra spoke with Chris Gilham about their shared experiences of gambling addiction and what gave them hope on their recovery journey.

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And for Chopra, former Black Cats boss Keane was a key support.

He said: “I never ever let anything get in the way of my football but as soon as the whistle went, my mind just suddenly changed and all of a sudden I was thinking about gambling.

“Then I decided to speak to Roy Keane, he was brilliant. He really took his time to speak to me and took time out of training. It was Roy that really got me the help that I needed.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel. When you’re going through a dark phase you don’t think that. If you’re struggling like I was and need support, head to TalkBanStop.com”

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Chopra has thrown his support behind the TalkBanStop campaign, which has been launched ahead of the Christmas period – a period which GamCare warns poses a heightened risk to those struggling with gambling.

Talking about the campaign, Anna Hemmings, CEO at GamCare, said: “After a particularly challenging year when many have been impacted by job losses and reduced income, Christmas can be a difficult time for those struggling to stop gambling.

“The TalkBanStop. campaign sends a message of hope to those who are struggling with gambling but don’t know how to start their recovery journey, by providing free tools and support that give breathing space to reflect on what’s going on.

“The first step is simply talking to someone. There is support out there to help you make empowered choices about your recovery, and we urge anyone suffering in silence to be inspired by Michael and Chris. They show it can happen to anyone, but if they can get through it, so can you.”

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