Former Chelsea academy star Jacob Mellis opens up on problems with drinking after being left homeless aged just 32

Jacob MellisGetty

Chelsea academy graduate Jacob Mellis has been left homeless aged just 32 and struggles with alcoholism having fallen down the English footballing pyramid.

Mellis came through the Chelsea academy in the late 2000s and was part of the side that reached the 2008 FA Youth Cup final. But he struggled to break through, having loan spells at Barnsley and Southampton before a permanent move to Barnsley in 2012. He then had spells at Blackpool, Bury, Mansfield and others but hasn't played in the Football League since 2021, which he puts down to problems with alcohol.

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He told The Daily Mail: "Throughout my career it’s been a thing that’s caused me problems. When you’re drinking you’re not in control of what you’re doing.

"It affects training, managers wouldn’t be happy. I remember I turned up one time to training drunk. I would’ve been 19. Steve Holland [Chelsea’s assistant coach] sent me in. There’s been a few occasions where it has affected me. If I wasn’t picked or was feeling frustrated I would just go out, go drinking."

On being homeless and how he gets from day-to-day, Mellis added: "I spend each day just thinking about where to go really. I have family but I don’t really want to rely on them. I want to try to do stuff for myself. It’s been difficult. I try not to think about it too much. I just try and get on with it.

He revealed in the interview that he stays with family members, on friends' sofas or gets put up in hotel with mates paying the bill. He's reached out to the Professional Footballers' Association and is set to enter the Sporting Chance clinic to try and overcome his issues with drinking.

Mellis revealed Chelsea have helped him take steps into scouting, doing his Level 1 and 2 badges and said he hopes to go into that line of work in future.

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