Premiership footballer receives death threats after racking up £800,000 in gambling debts

Matthew Etherington

Death threats: West Ham player Matthew Etherington has racked up £800,000 in debts

West Ham player Matthew Etherington has received death threats over his £800,000 gambling debts.

The 27-year-old winger was forced to ask the club for a loan after he was warned that his life would be in danger if he didn't pay off a substantial sum.

Worried bosses gave him a £300,000 wages advance to get him out of immediate danger.

But the club told Etherington, who earns £30,000 a week, he must start counselling for his gambling addiction.

A source said: 'Matthew has been a very worried young man. The club decided they had no choice but to help.

'They know how much courage it took him to come to them. It is not a conversation you want to have with your club.

'Matthew just wants to pay back the money and have this nightmare over.'

A West Ham spokesman said: 'We are working to support him through it.

'Matthew knows he needs professional help and accepts it is a priority in his life.'

The former Spurs star was treated for gambling addiction in 2006 but relapsed after 18 months.

The following year he was fined £2,000 and banned from the road for a year after admitting drink-driving.

He then spent a week at Sporting Chance  -  a rehab clinic set up by former England star Tony Adams.

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