Former Liverpool, England and Aston Villa goalkeeper David James has declared himself bankrupt just one year after calling time on his playing career.
The 43-year-old stopper, who also represented West Ham, Manchester City and Portsmouth throughout his 25-year career, has racked up a number of debts since divorcing wife Tanya in 2005, originally reported by Ryan Sabey of the Sun (subscription required), and detailed by Piers Eady of the Mirror:
The ruling was made official at Hertford County Court last Friday after he filed a debtor’s petition, according to The Sun. He will be automatically discharged from bankruptcy within 12 months, according to official documents.
It is understood that Tanya demanded a share of his future earnings. His assets at the time were thought to be around £6m and the couple earned seven properties.
Nick Sutton of BBC Radio 4 posted the Sun's front-page coverage:
James is said to have made £20 million throughout his career. He currently works as a volunteer coach for Luton Town, his boyhood club, en route to earning a coaching licence, per Eady. James often appears on BT Sport as a pundit and pens a regular column for the Observer, whose fee he donates to charity.
The former England international, dubbed "Calamity" James after a string of high-profile errors during his spell in the professional game, also modelled for Armani. Despite representing his nation 53 times and spending much of his career in the Premier League, James' finances have quickly depleted.
A lover of art, James also illustrated Harry's Magic Pockets: The Circus, a book written by his friend Steve Pearson.
He created the David James Foundation in 2005 to help raise awareness and funds toward battling AIDS, an organisation that "helps farmers to develop better techniques and gives teenagers skills needed to find work in Malawi," per Eady.
Jamie Ashdown, who currently plays in goal for Leeds United, suggested footballers should be careful when investing their money:
James was once named best goalkeeper at the prestigious Toulon Tournament, but only went on to win two trophies in the senior game. He helped Liverpool to the 1994-95 League Cup before playing a major role in Portsmouth's 2007-08 FA Cup triumph.
Despite racking up 536 appearances in the top flight, James remains in a difficult situation. He would certainly be wise to continue progressing toward a coaching badge, allowing him to hunt for a well-paying job at one of England's top teams. He has the experience and knowledge to become a well-respected coach, perhaps a smart career choice for the future.