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Claus Lundekvam ordered alcohol, pills and cocaine every day and attempted suicide twice

An ankle injury forced Claus Lundekvam to retire from football in 2008 and the Southampton hero fell into a vicious cycle of drug and alcohol abuse due to his declining mental health

Claus Lundekvam

Southampton hero Claus Lundekvam has opened up on the drug and alcohol addiction he struggled with after hanging up his boots.

Lundekvam retired from football in 2008 having made 290 Premier League appearances for the Saints and with 40 Norway caps to his name.

The 48-year-old struggled with injuries towards the end of his career and an ankle injury sustained in May 2007 spelled the end of his time at St Mary’s.

Lundekvam struggled to come to terms with his retirement and admits he fell into a habit of drinking vodka every morning as his “hopeless situation” spiralled out of control.

Claus Lundekvam has made the most Premier League appearances of any Norwegian



“From my testimonial to waking up every morning and having to drink a milking glass of pure vodka – that only took nine months,” the former centre-back told talkSPORT .

“It’s quite unbelievable how quickly I was losing myself and found myself in a hopeless situation which I couldn’t see a way out of.”

Lundekvam’s testimonial took place in front of 18,000 fans at St Mary’s in July 2008 as the Southampton faithful thanked him for his 14 seasons of service.

As the dust settled on his playing days and his depression worsened, the Norwegian, then in his mid-30s, confesses he tried to take his own life twice.

Lundekvam added: “I was so tired and so depressed. My life was horizontal for 23 hours a day. I was just ordering the things I needed to have: alcohol, pills and cocaine.

“I was destroying myself slowly but surely. Actually, pretty quickly. It ended up with a lot of paranoia, a lot of anxiety. So much came with it that I tried to take my own life twice.

What are your memories of Claus Lundekvam’s career with Southampton? Comment below.

“Luckily I didn’t succeed. The other time, I had so much guilt and shame about where I was, being a legend of the club, all of a sudden I was completely lost and destroyed.”

Lundekvam subsequently sought treatment at the Sporting Chance Clinic, a charity set up for Arsenal and England legend Tony Adams to help current and former athletes with mental health issues.

He now shares his experience to help others struggling through his work with Psychiatry Alliance in Bergen.

Lundekvam helped Southampton reach the FA Cup final in 2003 and he played 90 minutes in the narrow 1-0 defeat by Arsenal.

He made a total of 413 appearances for the Saints after arriving from Brann in 1996.

Lundekvam suffered his career-ending ankle injury aged 34 in a Championship clash against Southend United. He was stretchered off the pitch after falling awkwardly and failed to fully recover despite 10 months of rehabilitation prior to leaving Southampton.

If you need to speak to someone, Samaritans are available 24/7 by calling 116 123 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org.

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