Mike and the mechanics – in-form Michael Chopra reveals he’s gone back to school
MICHAEL Chopra has kept on the road to recovery by going back to school to study mechanics.
The Ipswich Town striker endured a dip in form after checking himself into the Sporting Chance Clinic for a severe gambling addiction last October.
And having been dropped to the bench for the opening five games of 2012, the chances of a relapse were high.
Instead, the 28-year-old registered at Suffolk New College to give himself something positive with which to fill his spare time.
The result has been nearly 18 weeks without a bet and a dramatic return to his best on the pitch.
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Four goals in his last three games have elevated the Blues well clear of the relegation zone and has left wild optimists even dreaming of a late play-off push.
Asked what lifestyle changes he had made to beat his addiction, Chopra – who faces his former club Cardiff City at Portman Road tomorrow – revealed: “You’ll probably laugh at this, but I’ve started going to college on a Wednesday. That’s my day off and it’s just something to occupy me really.
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“I’m studying mechanics. I’m not really into cars, but it was either that or doing something that involved a lot of writing! It’s just another thing which has made me appreciate life a bit more.”
With 11 goals now to his name, only five players have netted more times in the Championship than Chopra. And such is his new-found confidence that he is certain he can reach his pre-season target of 20 over the remaining 16 games of the campaign.
“It’s been 18 weeks at the weekend I think,” said Chopra, when asked if he had stayed clear of gambling. “I just wish I had made the change sooner in life.
“It was my son’s fourth birthday this week and when I spoke to him on Tuesday morning he said ‘score goals for me daddy’. I went up to see him yesterday (in Newcastle) and he had a big smile on his face when I told him I had.
“I took him to get a new football shirt and boots and we went for a kickabout – it was really nice. I’ve realised recently that it’s time to grow up.”