BY NORMAN SILVESTER (Daily Record)
FORMER Scotland defender Dominic Matteo has gone bust after racking up more than £1million of gambling losses.
An order against the ex-Liverpool and Leeds United star to make him personally bankrupt was obtained by the government-run Insolvency Service at Halifax County Court in West Yorkshire.
The bankruptcy move follows admissions by Matteo that he had been a heavy gambler and had lost more than a million pounds on the horses.
As well as having gambled away the seven-figure sum, he also admitted once betting £100,000 on a single horse.
The Dumfries-born father-of-two was made bankrupt on July 28 – but the information was only made public last week.
On the bankruptcy order, his occupations are given as football pundit and company director. Matteo also runs a trendy pub in Leeds called Rock Bar.
An Insolvency Service spokesman said: “The matter is at an early stage. Mr Matteo will need to be interviewed to establish how many creditors there are and how much is due to them.
“A decision will also have to be made over whether to appoint an insolvency practitioner to handle the case.”
Matteo spoke openly about his gambling problems in his 2011 biography In My Defence and in interviews to promote the book.
He said: “Most of my friends and family know I enjoy a drink but the gambling side, especially the extent of it, was not known and has come as a shock to them.
“You used to have to walk into the bookies to get your bet on and in a place like Leeds everyone would know if you started putting big money on.
“But with telephone accounts and text betting, you can do it privately. No one’s the wiser. There’s no prying eyes and
bookmakers guard your secrecy.
“With drinking or womanising, you’d be in the papers but betting is one of the few vices footballers can have without it getting around.”
Towards the end of his career, Matteo took up racehorse ownership with his Blackburn team-mate Garry Flitcroft and began rushing to race meetings by helicopter after training sessions.
He said of that time: “I gambled stupid amounts.
“One day I lost £100,000 on an evens-priced favourite and luckily won it back on another evens-priced horse a few hours later.
“All in all, I lost seven figures by the time I packed it in but it was only the birth of my daughter Luisa that made me think, ‘This is ridiculous and has to stop.’”
In August 2007, Matteo had an affair with married Leeds club physiotherapist Hannah Nicholls and was named by her then husband Matthew in a divorce action.
The couple later married.
Matteo also works on the lucrative after-dinner circuit and is a former club ambassador at Leeds. He played in the team that reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2001.
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