David James’ footballing career was a high-profile one.
At the height of his success, he was earning £50,000-a-week while playing for then-bankrolled Portsmouth.
But before he called it quits on his 26-year career as a goalkeeper in 2014, he lost it all.
James was declared bankrupt and was forced to auction off a host of personal belongings.
These included a wide range of football memorabilia, including 150 shirts he either wore at the himself, or those he received in swaps at the conclusion of matches.
Also auctioned was DJing equipment – including around 1,800 records – a van and a petrol chainsaw.
It is unclear just how James descended into bankruptcy, but it is widely believed to be on the back of debts that were built up following his divorce from his wife Tanya in 2005.
James, who is estimated to have earned a gross £20million throughout his playing career, was perhaps not the smartest with his money from the offset.
In a 2004 autobiography, his former Liverpool team-mate Stan Collymore described what it was like living with James as they lodged together in 1995.
“If he had a new car and he pranged it, he would just go and buy a new car – so there were five cars parked in the drive,” Collymore explained.
“If he bought a new pair of shoes and he scuffed them, he wouldn’t clean them. He would just chuck them in the spare room and buy a new pair.
“Too much disposable income, I suppose. Too easy just to bin stuff. Too easy to spend money like you’re going to be earning that kind of money for the rest of your life.”
Despite this, it was reported by the Independent in 2014 that James took his bankruptcy with some same ‘philosophical’ approach that he took his entire football career.
He was, and still is, a free spirit and a generous individual.
Before his bankruptcy, he established his own foundation to sponsor projects in Malawi and it is reported that he put a lot of his own wealth into the charity.
His newspaper column with The Observer, which ran for many years, was done in return for donations to the foundation.
It is also claimed that when Portsmouth, the club where he likely earned the highest wage of his career, went into administration, James donated his creditors’ agreement to members of staff from the club who were unpaid and at risk of losing their jobs.
Collymore, in the same autobiography, perhaps summed up James in the most perfect way.
He said: “He can come across as the thickest, dumbest bloke on the planet, but you only need to listen to him speak in more rational moments to realise that he is a very bright bloke.”
The kind-hearted, up-for-anything chap is the one you are most likely to see on Strictly Come Dancing over the coming weeks. It should be James at his best.