GLEN Southam, the man who captained Eastleigh to the Conference South title two years ago, has undergone therapy for a gambling addiction.

The 35-year-old Basingstoke Town midfielder, currently dual-registered with Farnborough, has revealed that he ran up such heavy debts that he spiralled into depression.

Opening his heart in an interview with The Non-League Paper, Southam explained how he had recently spent 26 days in the Sporting Chance Clinic on the advice of the Professional Footballers’ Association.

The ex-Barnet and Dover man said his gambling addiction started over a decade ago in his early days with Dagenham & Redbridge and, in his darkest times, football was his way of “switching off from it all.”

He admitted that he had wanted to finish his career at Eastleigh and had been “devastated” when he was let go by the Stoneham Lane club just a matter of weeks after celebrating the 2013/14 Conference South title and promotion to the National League.

Southam had just signed a new contract with the Spitfires, but the club released a statement at the time saying: “Unfortunately personal circumstance has dictated that Glen needs to find another club potentially.

“Glen has been an inspirational skipper and a major factor in our promotion to the Conference Premier. He has conducted himself on and off the field in an exemplary manner and is rightly very highly regarded by everyone at the club.”

Grateful for the help the Sporting Chance Clinic has given him in getting his life back on track, Southam said: “It was my crossroads moment. I was nervous and anxious, but it has given me back my life.”

But he added: “I know there are a lot, and I mean a lot, of players out there who are struggling with this. My message to them is that there is a way of getting help as this (gambling) is the biggest evil in the game.”