Tickets are now available for an evening with former Arsenal and England legend Kenny Sansom, titled ‘The good, the bad, the ugly’.
The event, kindly sponsored by Paramount Personnel and PHAB, takes place at St James Park on Thursday, February 23, at 7.30pm, the evening will see Kenny share stories of his glittering footballing career, and tell the truth about his life after football which saw him fall on hard financial times with gambling problems and alcoholism that at times caused him to sleep rough.
Full-back Kenny’s career saw him win 86 England caps and make over 600 professional appearances over a 20-year spell.
Starting his career at Crystal palace in the mid-seventies, he was known for being quick, calm, strong in the tackle and an excellent crosser of the ball, missing just one league game for the eagles in a consecutive run of 156 games. In 1980 Kenny made the short switch to Highbury to join Arsenal in a transfer of over £1million.
During an eight-year spell with the Gunners he would go on to make 314 appearances, picking up Arsenal’s player of the year award in 1981.
After leaving Arsenal in 1988, Kenny went on to have spells at Newcastle United, Queens Park Rangers, Coventry City, Everton, Brentford and Watford, as well as having short spells in non-league before retiring in 1995.
Kenny’s consistent displays for Palace would see him make his England debut in a goalless draw against Wales in 1979, going on to become England’s second-most capped full-back. Only eleven players have appeared more times for England.
58-year-old Kenny is now in a good place after moving to Exeter with a friend he made at a rehabilitation centre, which has helped to manage his problem with alcohol.
Kenny said: “I've not had a drink for a month and I'm in a great place – I'm staying with a friend, who I met in a treatment centre”
“We've been clean for a month each," he said. "We're helping each other – we just chat, and we can be walking down the High Street having a talk and a laugh and a giggle.”
Speaking on ‘The good, the bad, the ugly’ Kenny said: “I’m going to tell the truth, I call my story ‘the good, the bad, the ugly’ because that’s my life.
"There was a hell of a lot of good stuff that went on in my career and my upbringing and stuff like that – a lot of magic stuff, which I didn't expect – then there were a few bad things when I started getting involved in alcohol and gambling, which led to the ugly side of life, where you're sitting on a bench, people are asking if I'm okay, getting me a bottle of wine and I'm sat there drinking wine on a bench.
"I've got a story to tell and, for me, personally, my upbringing and the good stuff is so nice and so friendly, but, with the bad and the ugly, I have to tell the truth – there's no point in me getting on a stage, having people ask me questions, and me fibbing about it.
“I’ve got some fantastic stories and I hope people that come to the dinner will enjoy them. All the stories I tell, on and off the pitch, are true – there’s no fibs or made up things.
“I’ve got a story from every club and the enjoyment I had. I was captain for Arsenal when we famously beat Liverpool in the League Cup – when Ian Rush scored the first goal, Liverpool hadn’t lost for 120 games. He scored the first goal that day but Charlie Nicholas scored two of the softest goals I’ve ever seen in my life – I don’t think they reached the net, they just crawled over the line – but we broke Rushy’s record. I was captain and lifted the trophy, which meant a hell of a lot to me”
Tickets for the evening, kindly sponsored by Paramount Personnel and PHAB are £30, and include a one-course meal.
To find out more, or to book your place now please phone 01392 411 243 or email firstname.lastname@example.org