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Former Premier League star who earned £40,000 a week now 'can't afford phone' after bankruptcy

Rory O'Callaghan

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Former Premier League star who earned £40,000 a week now 'can't afford phone' after bankruptcy

A former Premier League star who once earned £40,000 each week has admitted he has been unable to take out a phone contract after being declared bankrupt.

Former West Ham captain Lucas Neill is a recognisable figure to English football fans having spent the majority of his professional career in the Premier League.

In total, he made 279 appearances in the top flight of English football, playing for Blackburn Rovers, West Ham and Everton.

He later enjoyed spells at Turkish giants Galatasaray and UAE clubs Al Jazira and Al Wasl before retiring in 2014 after a short spell at Watford.

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At the height of his career as West Ham captain, Neill earned £40,000 each week and drove a Ferrari.

But he is now being forced to live in rented accommodation after losing his fortune, The Sunday Times has reported.

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Neill has now opened up on the nightmare financial and legal battle that saw him facing three years in jail over allegations he hid money from creditors after being declared bankrupt.

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Last week, a jury at Preston Crown Court took 26 minutes to acquit him of the charges.

"Behind my chair in the dock were stairs going to the cells," he told The Sunday Times.

Neil said his "rock bottom" came when he had to attend a meeting with an insolvency service in 2016.

"It was the realisation that after 20 years of a football career and all this hard work, I've got nothing to show for it," he said.

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"I feel like I didn't protect my family… and that hurts. I let my family down."

Lucas Neill played for Blackburn, West Ham and Everton (Image: Getty)
Lucas Neill played for Blackburn, West Ham and Everton (Image: Getty)

Due to the insolvency service's prolonged investigation into Neill, he was left bankrupt for seven years – preventing him from owning his own home, or even taking out a mobile phone contract.

"There were some really humiliating moments," he added.

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"Like at 7.55am on a school morning, my kids answer the door to bailiffs trying to claim a council tax bill for £400."

Neill is now rebuilding his life, coaching women and girls football and working as a project manager for a local digital firm.

"I don't care about fame, or luxury. I just want to survive with my family and that's it. We have our own definition of happiness," he said.

"It might not be your definition, but it's mine. Would we be happier with more choice? Of course, but we don't complain. We've got each other."

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Football, Premier League, Blackburn Rovers, Everton, West Ham United

Rory O'Callaghan
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