Prem winner loses £782k as restaurant business fails – and new one £1.1m in debt

Manchester native Danny Drinkwater is seemingly in the red after multiple restaurant investments have struggled to yield profit.

The Sun reported the former Chelsea, Leicester City and Burnley midfielder lost £782,000 from one stake gone awry. That's according to documents from liquidators showing the extent of the damage.

The 33-year-old's first foray into the sector, FoodWell, was forced to close in 2022. The business was understood to be more than £2million in debt at the time it went bust, having shut its doors after three years in operation.

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And now it's understood Drinkwater has another restaurant – Firefly, which is just down the road from Manchester's National Football Museum – also struggling to break even. That second site is reportedly £1.1m in debt, and Drinkwater's portion of the business is worth 70%.

That equates to a little less than £800,000, which is a blow even the three-time former England international will feel. Firefly advertises itself as a venue that's 'free spirited' and offers 'dawn till dusk dining'.

News of Drinkwater's struggling investments come after the Manchester native recently confirmed his retirement from playing. He moved to Stamford Bridge for £35m 12 months after lifting the Premier League trophy with Leicester in 2016 but struggled to have an impact with the Blues.

Drinkwater went on a string of loans to Burnley, Aston Villa and Turkish club Kasimpasa before then-Championship club Reading loaned him for the 2021/22 campaign. He left Chelsea on a free at the end of that season and hasn't played football since.

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It should be noted that while Drinkwater's restaurant portfolio hasn't gone to plan, there's no indication the ex-playmaker himself is struggling financially. Companies House documents show Drinkwater joined Firefly as a director in August 2020, though his title was changed to 'a person with significant control' almost two years later.

Looking back on his time at Chelsea, Drinkwater last week said: “Anyone who thinks earning good money will solve all of your problems is not true at all. Mental health is more important than physical. It was the darkest I'd ever felt, and it was like I was drowning and forgotten how to swim."

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