Former Everton star Billy Kenny has spoken out about his addiction to alcohol and cocaine which robbed him of 25 years of his life.
Kenny came through the Everton academy to make his debut against Coventry for his hometown club in October 1992. He won acclaim by being named man of the match in the Premier League’s first ever Merseyside derby, aged just 19, and picked up the nickname “Goodison Gazza” for his playing style.
But his early career was cruelly hampered by injuries, with shin splints and hernia issues requiring operations. Those injuries, underlying depression and a heavy drinking culture around the club at the time saw Kenny begin to spiral out of control.
He has now given a searingly honest interview to the Liverpool Echo, in which he describes the torment that followed. “I never had a bevvy until I went into Everton’s first team,” he said. “It was sort of standard… I felt I had to just to be one of the boys because I was a young kid.”
Everton sent Kenny to The Priory for rehabilitation after picking up on his problems, but the intervention did not help.