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Stealing cars and winning the World Cup will keep the Town players on the straight and narrow
SWINDON Town’s squad are too busy stealing cars and winning World Cups to get caught up in the murky world of gambling, according to manager Mark Cooper.
The Robins boss was referring to his players’ love for computer games - Grand Theft Auto V and FIFA 2014 in particular - when asked about a series of revelations made by former professionals about betting in football over the course of the past few weeks.
Ex-Manchester United star Keith Gillespie and former England international Kenny Sansom are amongst those to have spoken about their own demons of late, while Kevin Davies - whose Preston side face Town tomorrow - told The Mirror how rife gambling is within the game.
However, Cooper remains unconcerned with his own crop of players, saying the biggest problem he’s got is getting the Swindon squad to put down the Playstation controller before 4am.
“I’m not sure our boys are old enough to get in the betting shops, so that solves one problem. You’re always looking for it but I’ve not seen it,” he said.
“I think they’re more bothered about playing FIFA and Grand Theft Auto than gambling.
“On the coach it’ll be Grand Theft Auto tomorrow and if you walk down the corridors of the hotel you’ll hear the players screaming because they’ve scored a goal on FIFA.
“That’s where our boys are. It’s healthier on your bank balance. If you lose 50 grand the night before a game you might be panicking a bit.
“The only problem we have is getting them to bed before four o’clock in the morning because they’re playing Barcelona against Real Madrid on FIFA. They’re good lads.”
The Professional Footballers’ Association and the Football Association work hard together to illustrate the dangers of addiction to their members, and Town were visited by representatives of each recently.
“We had the meeting last week with the PFA and the FA warning about all the pitfalls and perils of drugs, Twitter, gambling, the internet and they’re fully aware of it,” said Cooper.
“You can only lead a horse to the water, we can’t make it drink. We can guard against it as much as we can and the rest of it looks after itself.
“You’re always hoping they take the information on board. We’ve got good pros in there like Darren Ward and Jay McEveley who make sure things are done properly.
“They wouldn’t have it any other way.”
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