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Paul Merson and Jack ‘Pieface’ McDermott share their experience with gambling problems

Paul Merson and Jack ‘Pieface’ McDermott share their experience with gambling problems with the two speaking to each other recently.

The duo gave an incredible interview, speaking with LADbible in detail about their gambling harms, and has urged anyone who is struggling to stop gambling to seek help.

Merson, who had just won a match with the Gunners, recalled a particular time when they were both gambling.

You can watch the full video below…

“In 1991, I had just won the league with Arsenal, I just bought a four-bedroom house, I was sitting there with concrete instead of carpet because I chose to gamble,” he said.

‘Pieface’ then shared his story, recalling a time he chose to spend his money on gambling rather than things he needed.

“When I was in my early 20s, I moved into a shared house, the spare money I had for furnishings, I lost all of it on gambling and had a mate who helped me out,” he said.

“Betting was literally about feeling, it didn’t matter how much I won, whatever I won or lost, the next bet was going on. I would bet until it got to zero all you do is think about gambling,” added Merson.

“When I got my first pay packet, I had never had a bet before, I walked into the betting shop and it was like a spaceship. Just completely took me out of the way I felt, the buzz, the atmosphere. I lost every penny.”

Jack compared his first betting experience to Paul Merson, saying he played on smaller fruit machines when he was a child. Jack also said he lost all of the money in the bookies the first time he bet.

“If it wasn’t for them [his family] then I don’t think I’d be in the situation I’m in now,” he added. For anyone struggling, talk to your friends and family because they’ll be there to help you with it.

Merson added: “Anybody who is suffering from gambling harms, get to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting, be around people that understand them. I’m now in a good place, I’m happy and I’m there in the present, I wasn’t when I was gambling.

Paul Merson and Jack ‘Pieface’ McDermott share their experience with gambling problems

Interviewer: What are the signs do you think of problem gambling or gambling harms? Is there things that, if you were speaking to someone that thinks they might have a problem, of things that you would look out for?

Pieface: I always say that to people, it’s that attitude that I would go to a shop next to bookies, I wouldn’t wanna buy a bottle of Diet Coke ’cause it’s £1.50, but then I’ll go and put £100 on a race or something, or I’ll spin £100 in 30 seconds, but you don’t wanna pay £1.50. Yeah, I would totally agree with that. I think as well, one of the signs is if you’re sort of doing it alone and not telling people, if you’re not having fun with friends doing it if you’re just sat there on your own and you can’t kind of like tell people what you’re doing ’cause you know it’s bad, I think then that’s certainly another sign. I think I would say to people, and I always try and say this to people, if you think you’re struggling, tell your friends and family as a start would be for me, the first thing, ’cause they’re the ones that can help you. But honestly, just speak to people, I think openly admitting to yourself and people you’ve got an issue, that’s the key step. Cause once you’re honest with yourself, I think it helps so much to say, “I know I’ve got it. I just need to try and help deal with it.” For me, I think that’s the key is that level of honesty with yourself I think before you speak to others.

Merse: Yeah, I would say anybody who’s got a problem, I mean, as you just said there Jack, if you’re doing it on your own and you’re not telling people you know you’ve got a problem, I would get to a GA meeting, if I’m being honest, for compulsive gamblers, be around people that understand, be around… ‘Cause the one thing that this addiction will tell you? That you’re alone, it’s just you, no one else, just you. And there’s loads and loads of people out there in recovery who are getting well every day.

Interviewer: What kind of place are you in right now with your gambling struggles?

Merse: Where I am now is a good place. I would say a good place. I have to save to go on holiday. I have to save if I wanna buy something. All my life, the job I had, I earned bundles of money and I could do whatever I wanted. And today I don’t and I’m more happy. I tried to kill myself three times when I was a millionaire and my life today is priceless. I’m happy, I can go and watch my boy play football and come home and my wife will say to me, “How did he play?” And I could tell her everything about the game. I was there, I was there in presence, not just there in motion, and my head’s here and I’m looking on my phone and I’m not watching. I can go to a little gym with my little girl or mother and toddler with my other little girl, I can do them things today. They are priceless to me. The money is irrelevant.

Pieface: Yeah, the thing is I resonate so much of what you’re saying. Listening to it hits every nail, ’cause as I say, I’m quite open and honest about it now from where I was in a horrific point to now, because I try and focus on my sort of community and that, to me that’s my sort of main focus now. I want to make sure that I put all of my efforts and time into that as opposed to other things. But I just know that I have to for the next period of however long life is, deal with it. But I know that I’ve got friends and family there. I know that I’ve got people there and I know now that if I was gonna start to slide, I know I can say, “Right, I’ve got all the help and advice here I need, this is it,” and I know I can snap out of it.

Merse: I mean, the main thing is and I think the one thing we haven’t mentioned today and the most important thing is it’s a day at a time. This is one day at a time. I get up in the morning, I say, “I don’t take drugs today. I don’t gamble, I don’t drink today. I can do it, I can do it.” If someone said to me, “You can never have another drug another drink, or another bet for the rest of your life,” that is even saying it now, that is overwhelming, I couldn’t do it. But I know today if I keep it in the day and that’s all we have, it’s all- everybody, don’t matter if you’re the richest person in the world or poorest person in the world, whoever lives their life in the moment is the richest person in the world. I mean, and that’s the thing I think everybody’s gotta get, is it’s for today. Just for today we don’t do it, just for today.

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