Former Bolton Forward Reveals Gambling Struggles

  • May 19, 2020 | By Chris Mann
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Robbie Blake has admitted a difficult divorce and struggle at coming to terms with his release by Bolton led him down a path towards gambling addiction.

Blake, who made 15 appearances during a two-year spell with Wanderers, left the club following their relegation from the Premier League in 2012 before joining Doncaster Rovers.

Although Rovers won promotion as League One winners during his solitary campaign at the Keepmoat Stadium, Blake's contract was cancelled by mutual consent having played just 14 games by March and he says the struggles were of his own making.

"I was all over the place after that, going through a divorce, and from a mental point of view I was done," Blake told Undr The Cosh.

"Even when I signed for Donny, first day back in pre-season, I was in the Viper Rooms in Harrogate on the Sunday night until about half four, bladdered with red wine.

"I was waking up in the afternoon with about 14 missed calls from Dean Saunders asking 'where are you?'.

"It's not right. I was gone. There was nothing there.

"I was playing in high stakes casinos in Leeds.

"There were days at Donny where I'd leave training, you'd have a bit of banter and food, say half one - I'd go straight into the casino, stay there all the way through the night and then leave at half seven in the morning to go and train. I hadn't slept!

"I felt bad because I was letting people down.

"I sought help, I had to, and it has been a long journey. But it has been a good one.

"The PFA were a massive help for me - but the good thing is there is help there for the addictions, whereas there wasn't when I was coming through. There wasn't the help and support.

"It's great players have got that now. But thinking back - I don't think I was in a state where anyone could have helped me when I was playing.

"About five or six years ago the penny dropped.

"Until you actually understand it and realise it yourself, you can have the best advice ever, but until your mind is physically ready to take the challenge on you are not going to do it without the best help."

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Rochdale 34 36
20 AFC Wimbledon 35 35
21 Tranmere Rovers 34 32
22 Southend United 35 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 34 14
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