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 'There's only one Kenny Sansom' but no-one ever really knew the whole truth about one of English football's best-loved icons.Few players have ever epitomised the spirit of First Division football more than 'Handsome Sansom'.
The nimble left-footed schoolboy from the streets of South London holds a special place in the history of the great English game, winning the hearts of Crystal Palace and Arsenal fans during a playing career which saw him captain successful teams at both clubs.
Under the management of Terry Venables, Ron Greenwood, Terry Neill and George Graham, the 1970s and '80s saw the youthful Kenny revelling in top flight football, with millions of fans cheering his refreshing, direct and athletic style.Strong, calm, 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 at left-back, and featured in many of the most exciting and pivotal matches played by the Three Lions during that decade - including the infamous game versus Argentina in Mexico 1986.
Among many insights from old team-mates and respected managers, for the first time Kenny reveals the real truth about Maradona's controversial 'Hand of God' goal that broke English hearts and robbed the team of a place in the final.Throughout it all, up against some of the best strikers in the world, Kenny's positive attitude never came into question.
He's never been booked, let alone sent off. But off the pitch, unknown to his loyal fans, he was suffering in silence.
The addictive side of his personality threatened to destroy not only his career but his rock-solid family life too.
The fans were kept in the dark by protective manager George Graham, but it was the two women in Kenny's life who truly saved him from the wolves at the door - his devoted mother and the wife he'd met during his early school days.On the brink of throwing it all away, Kenny has found the strength to fight back and defeat the demons of drink and gambling. Laying his soul bare for the first time, Kenny's story reveals the highs and lows of a man at the peak of professional achievement yet dangerously close to losing it all.
The result is an entertaining must-read for all football fans - but it also offers hope to anyone caught up in the nightmare of addiction.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 302 pages, ill
- Publisher: John Blake Publishing Ltd
- Publication Date: 13/05/2008
- Category: Autobiography: sport
- ISBN: 9781844545674