Bankrupt footballer David James sells shirt collection

Sarah Coles
·2-min read
Former England footballer David James auctions football shirt collection after bankruptcy
Former England footballer David James auctions football shirt collection after bankruptcy

Ex-England goalkeeper David James is auctioning off a collection of football shirts, shorts and footballs, after being declared bankrupt.

Among the 150 lots are several of his own shirts (including ones he wore in the FA Cup Final and against Germany in the World Cup), plus a signed Frank Lampard shirt, an England shirt signed by the team, and a number of tops he swapped with other high profile players after matches.


The 44-year-old former Aston Villa, Portsmouth, Liverpool, West Ham and Manchester City player had been collecting the shirts throughout his career, but the trustees appointed to oversee his bankruptcy proceedings have ordered that they be sold. The auction is being run online by London-based auctioneer Hilco.

According to the Daily Mail, the auction will run from November 6 to 18th, and will also include personal items, ranging from a Raleigh Chopper bike to exercise machines, DJ equipment, a huge vinyl collection and a customised purple Vauxhall Astra van.

The Daily Mirror reported that he had earned £20 million during his footballing career, but had run into financial problems - particularly after divorcing his wife Tanya in 2005. He recently came out of retirement to become player-manager for Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League.


The BBC reported that the shirts are expected to sell for anything upwards of £30 each, while items like the England home kit signed by the team will be worth significantly more. In total, the auction could net the trustees up to £10,000. Sadly for James, any money made by the auction will go towards repaying people he owes money to, so he won't see any benefit from the collection he amassed over the years.

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He may be able to take a small crumb of comfort from the fact that he isn't the first former footballer who have faced financial difficulties after leaving the game. Lee Hendrie once earned £30,000 a week playing for Aston Villa, but in 2012 a divorce and problems with property investments left him with spiralling debts and he declared himself bankrupt.
Keith Gillespie is another example. After playing for the likes of Newcastle, and playing for Northern Ireland more than 80 times, he made some poor investments, lost money gambling, and was declared bankrupt in 2010 at the age of 35.

There will be those who wonder how players on such massive wages can run out of money. But when you consider that they play for an average of just eight years, and after getting used to an enormous income are suddenly forced to readjust, perhaps we should be surprised it doesn't happen more often.

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