Mark Allen: ‘I spent it as fast as it came, I overspent in every aspect of my life’
Northern Irish snooker player Mark Allen has spoken candidly about why he filed for bankruptcy.
The 36-year-old says he hopes the worst of his personal and financial troubles are now behind him, but admits he has made “a few missteps” in the past.
“I just overspent in every aspect of my life,” admitted Allen, who filed for bankruptcy in January 2021.
“Bankruptcy was the only choice.
The Antrim professional added: “It’s easy to read that I won £3.5m on the table but spent it as fast as it came.”
Speaking to BBC Sport Northern Ireland, Allen – who has also been through a costly divorce – described how he got “into such a hole”.
“It was sad to say that given what I’ve done in the game and how successful I’ve been, it’s embarrassing, but the priority now is to get my life in order,” did he declare.
“I didn’t put any aside for a rainy day and if I had a bad season, I always spent like I had a good season.
“You don’t set aside enough for taxes and everything snowballs, all the legal stuff with divorce, if you have to pay lawyers and attorneys, it all adds up.
“If I could go back [in time] I would be more reasonable with the money. If there was a car available at £50,000, I bought one at £80,000. If there was a house available at £1,500 a month, I would spend one at £2,500.
“Everything snowballed. I’m currently on hire, it’s a bit embarrassing to call yourself world number 10.
“I am on guaranteed gains in the future and that takes away the risk of having a good or a bad season.”
Allen recently reached the British Open final in Milton Keynes, beating Judd Trump and Mark Selby in the process, before suffering excruciating pain. Defeat 10-7 to Welshman Ryan Day in the final at the Marshall Arena.
One of the main talking points of the ranking tournament was former World Championship semi-finalist Allen’s huge weight loss, which saw him lose almost five stone in the four months of the last season.
“I had conversations with my partner Aideen and just said that I didn’t feel good about myself. I felt heavy, not healthy when I was playing pool.
“A friend of mine told me he was worried I was getting too fat, too unhealthy, and said if you keep going like you are, you won’t be able to take your daughter down the aisle.
“It was tough but exactly what I needed to hear. Literally two days later I started eating better and changing everything instantly.
“The first six to eight weeks were really difficult because it involved a total change in diet.
“There were times last year where, given my size, I was uncomfortable on some of my shots, I couldn’t reach some shots, and because I’m playing at a fast pace , I could feel it in my breath. That should help my game.”
Belfast win ‘came out of nowhere’
Allen will begin the defense of the Northern Ireland Open title he won last year at Waterfront Hall in Belfast on Sunday, 12 months after being crowned champion at the height of his personal struggles.
“It will be different to go there with a different type of pressure.
“I’m usually a bundle of nerves because I want to do well for others rather than myself like in other tournaments,” explained the former Masters winner and Champion of Champions.
“That pressure should be gone now and I shouldn’t have to prove to the people of Northern Ireland that I can play.
“I just want to go out there and enjoy the experience of being the defending champion, hopefully that takes the pressure off and I can do well.
“This [the tournament win] came out of nowhere last year because I was not well placed. It was not a good time. I don’t know where Belfast is from as I was going through a dark time. It was just a really trying time.”