To Cap it All...: My Story
To Cap it All...: My Story
Kenny Sansom, Rita Wright
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Strong, reliable and known for his ability to work in pinpoint crosses from the left, Kenny was a firm fixture in the cup-winning Arsenal and England defences for most of the 1980s. He won a record-breaking 86 international caps and featured in many of the most exciting England matches of the era. Among many insights from old team-mates and respected managers, Kenny reveals the truth about Maradona's controversial 'Hand of God' goal. Throughout it all, Kenny's positive attitude never came into question. He was never booked, let alone sent off. But off the pitch, the addictive side of his personality threatened to destroy not only his career but his rock-solid family life too. Fans were kept in the dark by protective manager George Graham, but it was the two women in Kenny's life who saved him - his devoted mother and the wife he'd met during his school days. Kenny has found the strength to fight back from the brink and defeat the demons of drink and gambling. For the first time, he reveals the story of a man at the peak of professional achievement, yet dangerously close to losing it all. Kenny Sansom considers himself a lucky man. But he also knows he's pushed that luck, and is fortunate to have survived. As a footballer he soared to great heights - but as an individual he also sank to life-threatening lows. The fans in the Highbury terraces may have sung his name but no-one ever really knew the whole truth about the football icon.
slightly in awe of his achievements. He had been voted Crystal Palace Player of the Year in 1974 and was to repeat this feat in 1976. As I said, I’m a home boy at heart and whenever I used to play away (and I mean at football!) my mum and wife would always be at my side. That was, until the day arrived when I had to go on away with my teammates minus my chaperones. It was my Crystal Palace debut and little did I know that 16-year-old Kenny Sansom was in danger of being initiated into much more
had been a wonderful experience, and it was reported that all the other nations were taking note of our good form. With the seventies coming to a close I had no doubt in my mind that I was going to win many more caps. The seventies had been brilliant. Now what were the eighties going to bring? CHAPTER SIX A BAD NIGHT IN BASLE All of a sudden, my dad was back in my life, and I didn’t see it coming. I should have run a mile and then kept running some more. He wanted to know me now I
made to my family. Poor Elaine had hardly had a moment to herself since our son Harry had been born, so she too was feeling jaded. I was planning on playing some tennis to build up my fitness levels as well as swimming and generally having fun with my little girls. Lying in the sunshine, I reflected back on an action-packed year. I really hadn’t expected George Graham to be such an inspiration. That man had surprised me by being a fantastic and inspiring manager. I was lucky. Arsenal was lucky.
poor Spanish girl. They wouldn’t want to help me – I was a disgrace. I think there were a few instances of ‘donde?’ (where?) and ‘de nada’ flying around, but the wheres and whys were getting ridiculous. If we had been speaking in pidgin French it would have been a scene straight out of an episode of Only Fools and Horses. Perhaps I should have asked for a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape – at least I could have sunk back into oblivion. I know I took a cab next. I think the debacle in the arrivals
KENNY SANSOM?’ Elaine and I stopped in a small enclave on the edge of the golf course on the borders of Hampshire and Sussex where the grounds of Champneys health clinic begin. I’d asked Elaine to pull over for a moment so I could gather my thoughts. Across the grass, about 300 yards away, stood the big imposing mansion that I assumed must have been the home of the lord of the manor many years before. It was a beautiful building and I suppose anyone driving down this lane for a weekend break