“I could never live in the moment and enjoy the team’s achievements. I only thought about what it all meant for drinking and gambling.”

Thankfully, Merson is now doing much better, adding: “For me, gambling has always been the cruellest addiction, the most difficult to live with and the most hideous for my family because it is invisible until it is too late.

“I haven’t touched cocaine for 27 years. Drink helped me to be the clown, to have a million faces, but I’ve not touched a drop for two years.

“I have reached the stage where I’m not going to drink because I know I can’t stop. And I’ve not placed a bet for a year.

“I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my whole life and I don’t have anything apart from my family and a television job [with Sky Sport] I love.

“I’ve lost millions and almost destroyed my self-respect, but the fog in my mind is finally clearing.”