The ex-captain of West Ham from the recent past, once a driver of a luxurious Ferrari, now resides in a rented apartment and narrowly avoided imprisonment due to his financial collapse. Lucas Neill earned a salary of around £40,000 during his tenure as the captain of the “Hammers” between 2007 and 2009.
The Australian defender represented his national team during the World Cups in 2006 and 2010. At the pinnacle of his success, he owned an elegant Ferrari that attracted the attention of numerous women, as reported by British tabloids. He also enjoyed lavish vacations in the Maldives.
However, in late November, Neill appeared in Preston Crown Court, facing accusations of not declaring money he was unaware of. The trial followed seven years of financial turmoil, with Neill facing a potential three-year prison term if found guilty. Neill discussed his financial downfall after being acquitted in the case.
“Behind the defendant’s bench, there were stairs leading to the cells. I walked away, regained my freedom, but I feel as though I’ve lost in life. I sense that I failed to protect my family, and that pains me. I let down my family,” Neill shared with The Times.
Neill was charged with concealing over £2 million from his creditors, while his financial issues escalated, leading to his bankruptcy declaration. The former Premier League star invested substantial sums in a scheme he believed would yield significant tax benefits in exchange for investments in British companies. However, the UK Customs Service ordered him to repay £400,000 after investigating the fraudulent scheme promoted to footballers by financial advisors.
Forced to sell more than seven properties, Neill incurred losses on each. Subsequently, he defaulted on a loan taken to fund a barn near Newcastle, held in an offshore fund. Neill still owed the bank £737,000 and was declared bankrupt in 2016.
“People found it hard to believe, but I was left with nothing. This was my lowest point. After 20 years of a football career and all that hard work, I have nothing to show for it,” Neill lamented in his interview.
The insolvency service probed Neill for seven years, leaving him unable to own a house or even acquire a phone on credit.
Lucas Neill participated in 539 matches throughout his professional career, with 279 in the Premier League. At the peak of his career, the former Australian international defended the colors of West Ham, Everton, Galatasaray, and Blackburn Rovers.
In England, he also played for Millwall, Watford, and Doncaster, while in his homeland, he represented Setúbal and Sydney. Neill’s career also took him through the UAE, where he played for Al Jazira and Al Wasl, as well as Japan, where he competed for Omiya Ardija. Lucas Neill also earned 97 caps for the Australian national team, retiring in 2014.