With time and money on their hands, it’s perhaps no surprise that some footballers dabble with drugs.
Of course, with so much at stake and the importance of staying in peak physical condition, most manage to steer clear of recreational and hard substances, including cannabis, cocaine and heroin.
But for others, on occasion, temptation gets the better of them.
Argentina legend Diego Maradona, one of the greatest players of all time, is the best known example – he fought a well-publicised battle with cocaine addiction for the best part of 20 years.
Over the past three decades, there have been others, including a handful of Premier League stars, who have messed around with illicit substances. Some came clean, others were caught.
The majority of players who slip up are able, with the help and support of others, to put their careers back on track. But for a few, it’s a path to rock bottom…
Chris Armstrong was the first Premier League player to fail a drugs test
(Image: Getty Images)
Armstrong is the holder of the unwanted title of the first Premier League player to fail a drugs test.
He was Crystal Palace’s star striker when he tested positive for cannabis in March 1995. It came just two months after Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle bid £4.5m – a huge fee at the time – to sign him.
The England B international agreed to enter into a rehab programme and was given a one-month ban.
He seemingly brushed it off, securing a £.4.5m move to Tottenham – a club record fee – within weeks of his return. He stayed at White Hart Lane for seven years before moving to Bolton then first club Wrexham.
In 2016, 11 years after hanging up his boots, he was fined £375 after he pleaded guilty to the possession of cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy at an address in West Kensington, London.
Lee Bowyer tested positive for cannabis as a young player at Charlton
(Image: Tom Morris)
As manager of Charlton, Bowyer…