By Adam Hollioake
For those of you not aware, recently I was declared bankrupt. If you happen to live on the Gold Coast, the chances of you having missed this is virtually impossible. As ‘exciting’ as the news is, I can’t believe there was nothing better to put on the front page of the Gold Coast Bulletin on Christmas Day! All I will say is that I am trying to avoid a certain big fat dude with a white beard and red suit who may not be very happy about me stealing the limelight on his big day.
I have been advised by most people, and not least by my legal team, to refrain from making any public statements about this. However that is not how I operate and have always rather face the music and all the consequences than to run away and bury my head whilst hiding like a coward. I am not embarrassed; just disappointed. But I feel I want to explain the situation. Apologies to anyone who is embarrassed by this article or not interested in my financial position - I have never really been interested in other people’s financial position either.
I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the several people who have offered me a hand out of my financial squeeze. I am too proud to accept charity ever and whilst appreciative of the great people out there, don't expect charity and have vowed to work my way out of it.
So, how did this bankruptcy come about? Well, I have to say that on retirement from cricket I was way too confident in my ability as a businessman. I had retired from cricket, having been fairly successful and was confident my ability to lead a cricket team would equate to immediate success in the business world. Added to this, I had managed to acquire five properties via what I thought were very smart investments. This was the first of the many mistakes I made. The next major mistake I made was to not take the warning signs of the GFC seriously. I would like to say that I wasn’t aware of its arrival, but I would be lying. I have many friends who are highly successful businessmen and warned me of its dangers. Let’s just say, I had never been through a GFC before; I had, but as a professional cricketer it doesn’t really affect you.
The truth in all of this is that I started my retirement during a property boom and everything was too easy, every decision I made turned to gold. But when things started to head south, my inexperience showed through. I thought it was a minor hiccup and in my mind knew things would turn around. How wrong I was! I can be thankful that all the people who invested in me. I say “in me” because most of the people who invested in my company all said they did so because of their relationship with me and the person I was. I have managed to maintain an excellent relationship with all of them, except for one person. And they all have been willing to wait for their money to be returned, except for the aforementioned individual.
At first I was annoyed at the one individual who refused to allow me more time to repay my debt, but truth be known he was the only investor who doesn’t know me very well and I guess I understand it. All he has done is follow his legal rights. And I can’t blame him for that. I didn’t fight this individual and didn’t opt for voluntary bankruptcy, but allowed this man to choose a trustee to examine my finances. Hopefully, when he sees I have nothing, he will finally be satisfied.
The only thing that upsets me about going bankrupt - apart from no holidays - is that whilst the process clears me of the debts, they remain unsatisfied. I have made a promise to myself to make every effort to make it up to those who are affected by my financial failing, despite the effect of the law. I am a strange individual in that like everyone, enjoy money, but my happiness doesn’t hinge on it and I have a new found love of fighting and spending way more time with my family. Unfortunately I have never acquired any degrees as such and have no working experience to speak of. Being a professional sportsman and entrepreneur for 20 odd years made sure that was the case.
In summarising, I don’t expect people’s sympathy, I have made all the mistakes myself and deserve what has come to me, no one else other than me can be held accountable. After the initial disappointment of losing my money, I think I am happier today than I have been for a very long time and have found comfort in realising money doesn’t bring me happiness.
I will, however, fight back and those who know me will tell you I will never give up. If I feel any sadness about losing money it is not for me, but for my children whom are the only ones I feel sorry for in all this.
So where do I go from here? Like everyone who gets knocked down - and I am not alone in this GFC - I can lie on the floor and take comfort from the fact I am no longer in the fight. Or I can get back up and vow to fight on with dignity and a new-found experience. I have learnt from my mistakes and will be in a better position to make more informed decisions if the same situation arises. There are much bigger and wiser people than I who have been caught out by this GFC - to mention a few, Ford Motor Company USA, Centro Group, and Allco Finance Group. I am informed. I vow to fight back using all the ingredients that go into making successful people.The number one ingredient being hard work!
For now I don’t have any money to my name and have taken to a comeback of sorts. Not in cricket; been there, done that. This time I am making a go of it in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). I have boxed since I was 12 years old and have spent many a year around Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gyms. So the transition is proving fairly easy at the moment, apart from the grueling workouts. I have always had a love for fighting and think that I am well suited to it. Time will tell. Don’t forget, I thought I was a good business man as well!
Wish me luck. And if you have got a job for me give me a shout. With all the training I am doing, I would make a great bodyguard for you.
(Adam and Ben made their Test debuts alongside each other in the fifth Test against Australia in 1997, the only time two brothers did so in the 20th century. Ben, 19, like his brother an all-rounder, became the youngest England debutant since Brian Close in 1949. Adam was six years older, but lacked the natural ability of his brother. He played four Tests, but it was as a one-day player and innovative captain of Surrey that he made his name. He captained England in 14 of his 35 ODIs, leading them to the Champions Trophy in 1997. Under his leadership, Surrey became the powerhouse of the county game, winning three championships in four years. He was named Wisden Cricketer of the year in 2003. He retired in 2004 and moved back to Australia, the country of his birth. Ben, prodigiously talented and hailed as the new Ian Botham, charmed Lord’s with a sparkling 63 on his ODI debut against Australia in 1997. You can follow Adam’s blogs at www.adamhollioake.com or follow him on twitter at www.twitter.com/adamhollioake)