Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Money Troubles Didn't Stop Me Loving Football'; Ambrose Struggled with Bills When He Wasn't Getting Paid during Palace's Crisis Season but Explains Why He Never Lost His Passion for the Game. by Simon Johnson

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Money Troubles Didn't Stop Me Loving Football'; Ambrose Struggled with Bills When He Wasn't Getting Paid during Palace's Crisis Season but Explains Why He Never Lost His Passion for the Game. by Simon Johnson

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Johnson

THE credit crunch has left many parents having to deal with the reality of how to pay the bills while worrying where the next pay cheque is coming from.

If there was one profession which many would have thought would be immune to such concerns it's the lavish world of football, especially for those players lucky enough to ply their trade in the top two divisions.

But it was only a few months ago that Darren Ambrose, one of the star performers in the Championship last season, was also wondering how to make ends meet.

On the field the Crystal Palace midfielder had a year to remember as he finished with a career-high 20 goals, yet it was one to forget off it.

"People don't think footballers have to worry about getting their bills being paid but I was in that situation last season," he said. "My wife and I have two lovely children and just like any other family we are looking at schools, nurseries and things we could afford to do for Christmas.

"I wasn't getting paid for a long time last year and my wife and I were having those chats about whether we needed to cut back on this or that. It was a hard time."

When Palace went into administration in January, there were genuine fears they would cease to exist. The mandatory 10-point penalty from the Football League sent the club from the brink of the play-offs to a relegation battle that they only escaped from on the last day of the campaign.

Playing under such pressure was hard enough, let alone also having to worry about finding the money to support his family. Such concerns are a thing of the past after the club were taken over by a consortium led by Steve Parish in the summer.

Many fans believe footballers have forgotten what life is really like for those that pay to watch them but Ambrose is not one of them.

The midfielder said: "As footballers, we certainly were all reminded of the fortunate position we're in to get paid for doing a job we love.

"A lot of footballers come from working-class backgrounds and have all sacrificed a lot as kids. We all know what it's like to have to work for your stuff and scrimp and save. …

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