James’s financial calamity is a warning to every footballer

The former West Ham keeper is bankrupt despite earning millions

Fancy owning David James’ ghastly purple goalkeeping kit? How about a couple of his 1,800 records? Well now you can! The former West Ham United and England goalkeeper was declared bankrupt earlier in the year and his stuff is now being auctioned off for a fraction of what he paid for it. Among the items being sold through London-based auctioneer Hilco are 150 signed shirts, shorts and match balls.

Bids for his stuff, which also include exercise and DJ equipment, vinyl records, books and toys, are being accepted this month and collectors of football memorabilia will surely feast on his treasure trove of items. When news first broke in May that James was skint most people were shocked. A few even laughed. How could a man who had earned so much during his career end up penniless? It didn’t make sense.

Apparently a couple of very costly divorces have contributed to the problem, although it is clear the former Liverpool and Aston Villa man was far too generous with his cash while he was playing and continued to spend beyond his means once the big pay-cheques started to dry up. James’s financial problems shouldn’t make us giggle.

Indeed, today’s current players earning more than any generation of players in history – should take note. No matter how much you earn you still need to be sensible with your cash and plan for the future. Jimmy Bullard, currently in the jungle on I’m a Celebrity, is apparently on the show as he lost £650,000 in some dodgy city investment. He needs the money.

Regardless of what they bring home each month players should put some money aside each month and leave their financial planning to the experts. Back to James though and many Hammers fans have soft spot for him. He played for us for three seasons before being sold to Manchester City, and put in some excellent performances during that time.

He was unable to prevent the side being relegated in 2003 but, unlike Jermain Defoe, was happy to honour his contract and represent the club in the Championship. It may be scant consolation to the 44-year-old but he’ll always have West Ham fans’ respect for that. Something money can’t buy.

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