David James Football Millionaire Bankrupt

David James Football Millionaire Bankrupt

Who is he ?

David James was a goalkeeper for Liverpool and England. He earned a lot of money through playing football, well in excess of twenty million pounds.

Why is a property development and investment website writing an article on him ?

Because he is a perfect example of a high income earner who spent it badly and did not invest it correctly.


He was brought up in Welwyn Garden City.

James attended Sir Frederic Osborn School.


James played for and received millions of pounds in remuneration from the following clubs:

  • Watford
  • Liverpool
  • Aston Villa
  • West Ham United
  • Manchester City
  • Portsmouth
  • Bristol City
  • Bournemouth
  • Vestmannaeyjar
  • Kerala Blasters

He was earning about £50,000 a week at times and played for over twenty-six years.

He also received payment for modelling for Giorgio Armani in 1995 and H&M in 2005.

He also works a sports pundit for various television channels.

Expenditure and bad money habits

James has been reported to having the following bad money habits:

  • Buying new cars when perfectly good ones got a scratch or dent
  • Buying new trainers and clothes instead of washing the old ones
  • Investing in mansions and not renting them out or living in them


He divorced his wife in 2005.

Seemingly, his finances spiralled out of control from his point. He already had terrible money habits including buying empty mansions and not using them, and only wearing clothes once.

As his earnings steadily decreased with his sporting career naturally declining, he found himself with a lot of debt and no way to pay it.

In 2014 James was declared bankrupt.

Sale of assets

He was forced to sell most of his personal assets just to fund the bankruptcy including:

  • memorabilia
  • match balls
  • DJ equipment
  • Vinyl Records

Personal life

Divorced with four children (2005)


He set up the David James Foundation which helped maize farmers in south eastern African nation of Malawi develop more efficient production techniques and train teenagers in mechanical and construction skills

It also funds the David James Foundation Scholarship at the University of Westminster, which sends a student from Malawi to study for a master’s degree at Westminster.

Lessons to be learned

If you are in a high earning but short career it is important to remember that one day your income with drop to almost zero on your retirement. So you need to be careful to set yourself up financially for life while you are earning.

You must watch every penny you spend. Every penny you earn must be invested so that you are rich for life. If you do want to spend some money on clothes or holidays etc you need to let your investments pay for this.

People need to invest to have a passive income for all of their life. James could have bought lots of small properties and rented them out. By the time his career ended he could have had a hundred houses and flats and be earning a great monthly income.

It is imperative that when you get married you sit down with your partner and agree what a divorce or separation would look like financially. Sometimes relationships break down and you do not want to have to pay a fortune to lawyers to sort out your divorce.

We would love to go back in time and put him through our 1) personal finance/property finance course 2) our property investment course and 3) our property development course. He would be very wealthy indeed.

Other footballers to declare bankruptcy include Lee Hendrie, Keith Gillespie, Eric Djemba-Djemba. There are thousands more who did not go bankrupt but who are back working as postmen, barmen, labourers etc when they should be very wealthy.