THE multi-millionaire on a mission to get little Billericay Town into the EFL has revealed the secret torment behind his rags-to-riches rise.
Glenn Tamplin has taken non-league football by storm since assuming control of the Essex part-timers eight months ago.
But what his growing number of fans — and his even bigger number of jealous rivals — do not know, is that the strain of setting up his successful steel business from scratch almost drove him to the brink and he ended up in a mental hospital.
He says: “I was in a dark place. I wanted to kill myself.”
Tamplin, 45, installed himself as manager after buying Billericay in December and has already become one of the non-league game’s most controversial characters.
Having vowed to get the club into League Two in five years, he has upset rivals in the seventh-tier Isthmian Premier League by making a dozen signings, including ex-England defender Paul Konchesky and former Spurs midfielder Jamie O’Hara.
One-time Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant decides this week whether to join after playing 90 minutes for Billericay in yesterday’s 2-1 defeat by Leyton Orient.
The club’s wage bill has rocketed to £30,000 a week in a division where players can usually expect to earn £100 a game.
Tamplin has spent £2million improving things on and off the pitch at his New Lodge ground, which is being redeveloped and rebranded as the AGP Arena, complete with luxury hospitality.
Inevitably, this investment, from a tanned and toned streetwise Essex boy, has posed questions about where the cash has come from.
But as he chats by the pool at his £20m Essex mansion, set in 68 acres, and surrounded by his fleet of expensive cars, he insists: “I have never sold a gram of gear in my life — nor have I done anything illegal intentionally.
“I’ve never dodged a tax bill and I like to think I have always done right by people. In fact, the older I’ve got and the more knocks I’ve had, the more selfless I’ve become.”
Just ask the family of seven-year-old Harry Parker, who suffers from a rare form of cerebral palsy.
Tamplin gave £45,000 to help pay for an op to ensure the boy will not face life in a wheelchair. He has also named Billericay’s disabled section after little Harry.
Having previously volunteered at a local soup kitchen for the homeless, Christian Tamplin has built a chapel in his grounds so local pastors have a place to work with youngsters who need help.
They have even held baptisms in his fishing lake, which sits alongside tennis courts, a golf course and a maze, all kept in pristine nick by six full-time ground staff — and all paid for by hard work.
Dagenham-born Tamplin had a spell in the City before starting in the steel industry as a salesman for Rainham Steel.
He says: “I worked for them from 16 to 25. I became their top salesman by quite a long margin.
“I had a nice wage and company car — and we used to get a Christmas bonus. One year, I won a large export job worth £2m and, when Christmas came along, I thought I would be rewarded with the bonuses of all bonuses. But when I opened the envelope, inside were two £25 Argos vouchers. I was so disappointed.
“It broke my heart and it broke my spirit — but it turned out to be the best bonus I ever received because it made me realise the only way I was ever going to get on was by working for myself.”
So Tamplin remortgaged his tiny Dagenham home for £50,000 and set up on his own.
He finally began to turn a profit and within five years he also branched out into property.
His AGP Steel empire now turns over around £5m a month.
No wonder Billericay have just bought two new £250,000 giant screens, similar to Wembley’s. But his wealth did come at a cost. He reveals: “I was in a mental institution for nearly three months after suffering from burnout.
“I was in a dark place, I wanted to take my life. So I was admitted.
“I never dealt with issues from my past. I never dealt with being bullied. I never dealt with my dad not being my real dad.
“I never dealt with the first woman I loved leaving me. And I never dealt with the boss I saw as a father figure giving me £50 of Argos vouchers for Christmas. All those things mounted up.
“The way I dealt with it was by trying to earn money by building up my businesses. Money became everything. For ten years, I spent 17 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week working at an unbelievable level with hardly any sleep.”
It resulted in Tamplin splitting with the mother of his four children. But he now has another child with his stunning wife Bliss and they are trying for another.
In the meantime, he is focusing all of his efforts on getting his other ‘baby’ into the EFL.
He predicts: “I think we will get back-to-back promotions and then it will take two to three years to get out of the National League.
“A lot of people have had a go at me on Twitter and I feel sorry for them. But I don’t care.
“In five years, when we are in League Two or League One with gates of 10,000, they will see that I walk the walk.”