Paul Merson Documentary

Redwurzel

Well-known member
Merson is a hardcore addict - gambling is their air, food etc, they struggle to live without a bet. Did he say he lost £7m gambling. It would take alot to spend £7m on alcohol or cigarettes. I had an uncle that would at one stage not give my aunty any money from his wages (back in 1960s/70s when people were paid in cash), most of it was gambled away. She had to work to pay the household bills, including work through the night and getting very little sleep. She had 4 kids. This was before phone betting, internet betting, just high street bookies and bets placed in pubs/racecourses. If he won he gave her a lot of the winnings, but more often there was nothing to give.

I used to do the pools and fixed odds by post when I was 14 (illegally), so I knew I had the bug. It was liking playing a game (which I used to love as well), but with ten times the thrill. I couldn't wait till I looked 18 and be able to go in a bookies and fill in my one football fixed odds coupon. I would get home and work out on a calculator how much I would win, usually 5 team accies on those days. say £456 for a £2 stake or even better do 5 from 7 perms. My Saturday routine if not on a long trip to a Boro game. I was disciplined with stake never more than £5 in total and usuall only on a Saturday and never bet on horses/greyhounds unless it was the Grand National. I was buying the Racing Post @ age 21 on a Saturday just for the Football section or would read every word in a Bookie's copy. It probablhy all helped me break even and for a few years when the Internet started I was well in profit every year (I suspect some of the new bookies lost money and less informed were betting). My betting went up after I was making a profit as I logically thought it would magnified my wins so instead of staking £5 on a game I went say £30. Betting tax was abolished and it was easier with the Internet. I did start to realise I was spending too much time on it. I was doing quite a lot of research to improve my performance and it was becoming an obession not just an interest. I was finding I was just breaking even and it took 5 hours of reserach to do that. Now I limit it to 1 to 2 hours research a week and staked down to enough to get a buzz (intellectually challenge to me) without risking much financially. I religiously record all wins and losses (and have done for 12 years) and never ever chase losses and never did. Unlike Merson I can balance emotion and logic a bit, he seems to be almost 100% emotion.

It used to amaze me how much people bet - seeing guys in bookies that looked like builders labourers putting on the equivalent of days wages, certainly £20 bets in the 1980s/90s etc and I would look puny with my £2 accie, but for me that would be in Hills, then £1.50 in Ladbrokes and £1.50 in Corals to get the best odds on particular games. That was all part of the challenge to beat the bookie. I can even tell you now exactly where the shops were in the 80s, Middlesbrough was good because there was a lot of choice in a small walkable area. I very rarely now bet with a bookie online or offline. They know too much and their margins have increased. The exception is Skybet who do a Saturday bet as a loss leader and free Super 6. They limit to me to £1 bets on theor special ofers, because I am in profit with them. William Hill stopped me using their Saturday offers, because I was also in profit with them. Eaven so my conclusion is for everyone almost its a mugs game, it either takes your money or your time. Keep it to pocket money if need the buzz. like the Pools in the 1970s or like buying one or two lottery tickets. Of course the betting industry would severly shrink and probably lose 95% of its revenue if that happened but the owners are very rich people it does not damage their lives.

Some ordinary people need protection and in general they are not getting it from what I get see. The level of advertising has ramped up alot in the last 20 years. I can't remember gambling shirt sponsors before around 2002 if though shirt sponsors had been around since the late 1970s. The same with TV and its all been in the in the last 20 years. Its as dangerous as alcohol in my opinion, but the general public has increased betting by significant amount in the last 20 years, while alochol is about the same and smoking is down.
 
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Lefty

Well-known member
I know more people who are/were addicted to gambling than drugs and alcohol combined. For me it is the worst of the three. As damaging as drug addiction or alcoholism is to the health of the individual it doesn't have a direct impact on anyone else. It has awful indirect effects on loved ones especially, on society if it leads to crime to fund the addiction. The same though is true of gambling.

However it is very difficult to drink enough £4 bottles of cooking sherry to be faced with your wife and children getting evicted from a house you have gambled away the rent money for, the grocery money and also have run up £50k in credit card debt in just 3 months.

I have much sympathy for all addicts. I have no doubt there is a physiological aspect at birth that predisposes someone to these addictions.

I'm quite happy to go along with Merson that he is not to blame for a physiological defect he has, but if he is not to blame for it, then nor are Middlesbrough FC .
 

Redwurzel

Well-known member
If posters want to discuss Merson and Middlesbrough.

My opinion is that he would not come to the Boro unless he was a gambling addict. He said the move gave him £7k more a week to bet with. He left a top 3 Premier League club that he played 33 league games for in the season just before he left to join a Championship club. At the time I thought it was a drugs problem, but now it appears it was his gambling that was the main reason he moved. And to his credit he made a big positive impact for us on the pitch in the 1997/8, but he was all over the place in his personal life.

It would be interesting to hear what Maddo has to say as he was playing with Merson.
 

Boro in Devon

Well-known member
I am interested in understanding why a person is addicted to any of these activities. Is it the activities that our addictive or is it the person who will addicted.
I have quite an obsessive personality, I would love to have a regular drink, but I hold back as I know that I dont know when to stop. I could enjoy gambling, I am a statistician by trade and find it easy to understand odds, however I also can see that the odds are stacked against the gambler.
If gambling was limited, would these people find something else to give them the buzz ?
 

Redwurzel

Well-known member
Merson said he struggled to find things to interest him. I am not saying this as an excuse, just a point he made. Interestly he said when he saw his brain patterns he described himself as a loner but had never thought that before.

I can understand a bit especially in the modern world where we are almost stimulated to death, you become numb to things that interested people in the past and want a bigger and bigger fix, some people are addicted to social media, some to porngraphy, some to fast food etc etc.

I could see Merson trading Bitcoin if he was not sports gambling.
 

Glover_elbow

Well-known member
Merson said he struggled to find things to interest him. I am not saying this as an excuse, just a point he made. Interestly he said when he saw his brain patterns he described himself as a loner but had never thought that before.

I can understand a bit especially in the modern world where we are almost stimulated to death, you become numb to things that interested people in the past and want a bigger and bigger fix, some people are addicted to social media, some to porngraphy, some to fast food etc etc.

I could see Merson trading Bitcoin if he was not sports gambling.
i think mersons troubles are deeper than just an addictive personality, hes quite child like and naive in personality and i don't mean that in a disrespectful way. It wouldn't surprise to me if had a very troubled upbringing and had suffered some form of trauma or abuse. Hes definitely a person with his own demons, but normally theres a reason behind those. Some of the posts on here are so lacking in compassion, i dont think the guy would purposely hurt any one, lets hope he can get the help he needs to enjoy the rest of his life. Still one of the best to ever pull on a boro shirt i wish him well.
 

BiggEggo

Well-known member
One thing that struck me was when he said that gambling was the only thing that he had any interest in even now. I thought that was a massive insult to his wife and kids.

I was a fan of the player but never the man. Especially after the critiscm he launched at certain players using them as a scapegoat for his own shortcomings.
 

Blf

Well-known member
After reading this thread I watched the documentary. Never really had time for Merson as he was very disparaging publicly to our club which he later admitted was lies.
However I felt only empathy for him and sympathy for his family. What happened to other families was shocking.
I think his earning potential is low compared to his early life and maybe that's why he takes the money from gambling firms.
I wish him luck but I don't see a particularly happy ending.
 

Redwurzel

Well-known member
I am sure he loves his wife and kids, but they don't give him the same buzz as a bet. I know that sounds totally wrong, but his brain is wired in such a way that these pleasures (to him) sit in different sectors of his brain. It was said he has 8 kids so he must be pretty attracted to women, some of the time and they attracted to him. I found how he was quite tragic, living off pocket money.

Football clubs wre always keen to get their young players married once they were in the first team. One reason was the keep them from the bookies and pubs in the afternoon.
 

Sheriff_John_Bunnell_ret

Well-known member
It's the dopamine buzz isn't it. Body releases a chemical to reward you. You then seek to repeat that to gain the same pleasure. Low levels of dopamine lead to a lack of motivation and pleasure in other activities.
 

JustTheGent

Active member
Haven't watched the documentary but will certainly catch up with it.

The last few posts on this thread start to get to the mechanics of problem gambling. It's essentially a psychological process that traps you into chasing a dopamine hit. It is vital that anyone who starts to gamble or develops a gambling problem is aware of what is happening in these terms.

I like to think of it as an emotion meter swinging from left to right. The more volatile that becomes, the more chance you have of being caught up in addiction. The positive side of that meter can become toxic. It means your emotional state will become so charged when you win, that you begin to crave the experience again and again. That winning part soon becomes redundant and the anticipation of the actual gamble takes over. Winning or losing becomes irrelevant, all that is needed is to gamble. That becomes the sole objective.

Making money from gambling isn't that difficult. People don't do it because they don't do the necessary research or they don't understand the maths behind it and they tend to use gambling as a leisure activity. They are doing it for fun, excitement, etc. They might go to work and have their social time, they don't want to spend time doing research on gambling. Most people will lose a certain amount and will continue to function properly. But now certain types of gambling can drag people into the depths of addiction. It started with the roulette machines in bookies, but the major problem is now online casinos.

Anyone who is a bad loser shouldn't gamble. You need to be a good loser in gambling. The ability to lose money with virtually no negative feeling towards it. In the same token, you want a very negligible reaction to winning. This is obviously a problem for people who are looking for excitement. The only thing needed is to make sure the percentages are in favour. But don't get high on the winning aspect. It will dilute all the good things in your life and diminish them. Family, hobbies and all the simple things in life.
 

Caesium137

Well-known member
I am interested in understanding why a person is addicted to any of these activities. Is it the activities that our addictive or is it the person who will addicted.
I have quite an obsessive personality, I would love to have a regular drink, but I hold back as I know that I dont know when to stop. I could enjoy gambling, I am a statistician by trade and find it easy to understand odds, however I also can see that the odds are stacked against the gambler.
If gambling was limited, would these people find something else to give them the buzz ?
Yes, or if it was heavily regulated and controlled so it wasn't easily accessible I'm sure there would be a thriving black market with zero regulation too.
 

Redwurzel

Well-known member
"Making money from gambling isn't that difficult."

Sorry that is untrue for punters - around 98% of people lose or just break even in the medium to long term and the other 2% have their accounts blocked, unless they use an betting exchange and devote quite a bit of time to what they do.

There are some people who do make money on the exchanges, but they treat it as a job and have become more like bookies than punters.

It is a dopamine rush for some, possibly similar to certain types of shopping for others, where people feel good when shopping for clothes. The clothes sometimes are never worn. This tends to be women. It doesn't mean they don't love their family, but family doesn't give dopamine.

There is probably a spectrum of dopamine punters - some get limited pleasure so can bet odd times small amounts and walk away and feel little urge. At the other end there are others who need it every day and are thinking about it every day.
 

Mr_Fridge

Well-known member
Meanwhile today on Twitter our darling Football Club is merrily sharing an online casino competition to its followers. All part of the fun. To under 18s too I assume.
 

Redwurzel

Well-known member
Its all about moderation. Buying a £2 lottery ticket twice a week is fine for most people, but when people are staking their days wages on bets its a real problem. Also when the betting companies know they are taking hundreds of pounds off a punter each week in some cases over a £1000 a week.
 

JustTheGent

Active member
"Making money from gambling isn't that difficult."

Sorry that is untrue for punters - around 98% of people lose or just break even in the medium to long term and the other 2% have their accounts blocked, unless they use an betting exchange and devote quite a bit of time to what they do.

There are some people who do make money on the exchanges, but they treat it as a job and have become more like bookies than punters.
I don't think it is untrue. Such a high % of people lose from gambling because they use it as a source of entertainment, excitement and fun. There's no real intention to make profit. Simply being aware of very basic maths would reveal what most people will lose on average from a particular bet or casino game.

When we see even very basic strategies implemented with correct money management, people tend to win. A very high % make long term profit. We've seen this for many years with Matched Betting. But there's many different opportunities out there at different levels of complexity.
 
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