Ex-Northern Ireland star Keith Gillespie has lifted the lid on the sex lives of Premiership footballers — including his own exploits.
The ex-Man United, Newcastle and Blackburn winger has spoken candidly about women throwing themselves at him in his new autobiography in which he also charts how he blew £7m in earnings — going from earning £15,000 per week to claiming Job Seekers Allowance at the Bangor dole office at the age of 35.
But like George Best before him shy, handsome Keith had plenty of fun along the way — pulling a string of beauties thanks to his millionaire star status.
Gilliespie, 38, challenges any man who slags off footballers for cheating on their wives and girlfriends to ask how they would deal with the temptation of beautiful women constantly hitting on them.
“Footballers have a reputation for a reason,” he says in his book How Not To Be A Football Millionaire, which is released tomorrow.
“But I don’t think anybody can be too high and mighty about what they would or wouldn’t do unless they have been repeatedly put in a situation where attractive girls are offering themselves up to you.”
Gillespie says top players who stay faithful “are a rare breed”, adding: Personally, I can’t say that I’ve encountered many.”
“I was always shy when it came to approaching girls, so
football was the right profession for me. It’s a world where you don’t have to work very hard to succeed. The girls come to you,” he writes.
“Newcastle really opened my eyes. Picking up girls was easy...Geordie girls have a reputation for being quite up front...They’d come up, strike a discussion and, in no time, you’ve pulled them.”
Most of his pick-ups were in a nightclub called Julies, a favourite hangout for Newcastle players and their groupies.
“I wound up in a few strange scenarios. Like getting padlocked in a student flat by a crazed girl who simply wouldn’t let me leave until she got what she wanted.
“Or sneaking into an upstairs bedroom with the daughter of a Manchester United legend while her Dad was out at a wedding.”
Gillespie says the “stand-out example” came in his final months at Newcastle when he picked up a local girl on a night out and she invited him into her house in Wickham.
He writes: “We headed straight for the bedroom and were getting down to business when I thought I’d heard the front door open downstairs.”
The girl’s boyfriend had arrived home so he jumped into a child’s bunkbed in another room.
“A Geordie, comfortably taller than six foot, marched in. I did a pretty poor job of pretending that he’d just woken me up, rubbing my eyes and producing a fake groan as he turned the light on.
“The brightness alerted me to the walls, which were covered with Newcastle United posters, and the centrepiece was a team shot with my mug right in the middle.
“The man of the house squinted and produced a facial expression that combined anger and amazement.
“F*****g ‘ell, it’s f*****g Keith Gillespie,” he said, in a thick North-East accent.
“Have you been shagging wor lass?”
Gillespie says he pleaded his innocence but the Newcastle United fan was having none of it.
“He swung a fist, I retaliated, and all of a sudden it was like a fight scene from a Steven Seagal movie. We ended up grappling on the floor, and rolling down the stairs in a ball, raining punches at each other, while his bird screamed at us to stop.
“He’d obviously brought the kids home as well, as there were two little boys standing there watching too, just to make the situation that little bit worse. They were probably wondering why Daddy was fighting with the man from the poster. The saving grace was that he’d left the front door open. I wrestled free and ran for freedom.”
He recalls one player who was hooked on prostitutes and when his wife found out they agreed to see a sex therapist.
“The ‘expert’ reckoned that he was just addicted to paying for it, and recommended that he started financially rewarding his wife for sexual favours. Strange advice, but they went with it,” he writes.
Gillespie is frank about his own complicated love life over the years; how he blew a fortune on gambling and poor investments; his battle with depression and the nightmare of going bankrupt in his mid-30s.
But he says he’s learned to laugh at his mistakes.
“People assume that I’m weighed down with regrets, but I’m not.
“I’ve mastered the art of self deprecation; I can go on a stage and talk about how my big money move to Newcastle was good news for me and better news for the bookies and people laugh.
“If that’s how I’m to be remembered, then so be it. I am proud of my football career though.”
How Not To Be A Millionaire: Keith Gillespie, My Autobiography (Trinity Mirror Sport Media) -— out October 7. RRP £16.99