Peter Shilton O.B.E is one of football’s true greats. At club level, he has won every major honour except the FA Cup and at international level he is England’s all-time record cap holder with 125.
However, arguably his greatest achievement is conquering his 45-year gambling addiction.
In his powerful new memoir ‘Saved’, Peter faces up to his demons and provides an incredibly moving and honest account of how gambling nearly destroyed him and how Steph, his wife, helped him to save himself.
Uniquely co-written by both Peter and Steph, this book allows the reader to see both sides of the story and understand just how much of an impact gambling has on not just the addict but also on their loved ones.
The Shilton’s intend ‘Saved’ to be a self-help book for ‘not just for elite sportsmen, but also for every ordinary person out there who finds themselves hooked on gambling.’
However, the function of the book is also to raise awareness about the ‘gambling epidemic’ that the UK faces and to break the stigma that is attached to gambling addictions.
Peter’s story is one of hope. Steph’s love for Peter is evident throughout and it was her support that allowed him to overcome his chronic addiction. This is just as much Steph’s story as it is Peter’s, and she offers advice to the families of those struggling with addiction and reveals how she worked tirelessly to help Peter.
One of the most emotional pieces in the book is when Steph recalls how she promised Les, Peter’s father, that she would help him quit. Just a few months after Peter did quit, Les passed away with the knowledge that Steph had fulfilled her promise.
Peter has not made a bet since quitting and reflects on his recovery by saying, “Addiction is giving up everything for one thing. Recovery is giving up one thing for everything.”
Whilst the Shilton’s inspiring story of how their love conquered a 45-year addiction has a happy ending, many gambler’s stories do not end so well.
Both Peter and Steph acknowledge the link between gambling addiction and suicide and the book is dedicated to two young men, Jack Ritchie, and Lewis Keogh, who felt that suicide was the only way to escape their addictions.
This book is uplifting and does offer hope; however, it also clearly portrays just how serious gambling is and just how much change needs to be made.
Peter once heard a top executive of a major gambling company say: “Ninety-nine per cent of punters lose.”
The truth is the only people who do not lose from gambling are the betting companies, who continue to exploit the illness that is gambling addiction.
The Shilton’s, through ‘Saved’, have produced a truly powerful book but more importantly they have raised awareness and understanding and educated everybody fortunate enough to read it.
Peter Shilton was saved by Steph and now they have written a book that has the ability to save hundreds of lives and force change within the gambling industry.
The book is, without doubt, Peter Shilton’s greatest save yet.