The mother of Arsenal player Ainsley Maitland-Niles claims she is homeless and has been living in a metal storage container. Jules Niles says she has to sneak past staff at the Big Yellow Storage warehouse to sleep in the 10ft square metal box – despite her son earning £30,000 a week.
The 38-year-old has been living in for the box for the past three months after her relationship with Ainsley, 20, broke down and he refused to be a guarantor so she could rent a flat. She said: ‘It’s a metal container with no windows or carpet. There is no toilet or washing facilities. ‘It’s not a home. I know what home feels like – to be able to shower, brush your teeth and sit in your room. ‘Most of all I miss my family. It’s horrible. I just want to know what I’ve done wrong. ‘It is heartbreaking. The area is covered in snow and it’s not been above freezing for days. I heard a homeless man died here overnight on Thursday.’ Ainsley – rated at £15 million – lives in a £700,000 luxury apartment in Finchely, North London with his brother Cordi, 23 and a charity worker, while his mum sleeps on a bare matress in an industrial unit just off the M25 in Hertfordshire. The pair grew up in council houses and temporary accomodation in and around Ilford, East London with their mum saying she was sometimes so poor she went hungry. Ainsley signed for the club’s academy when he was six, and made his debut for The Gunners aged 17 in the Champions League against Galatasaray in 2014. The family initially lived in a three-bedroom home in Hertforshire but fled in the middle of the night after Jule had a bust-up with Arsenal club staff.
She was given six months to find a new home – and when she could not she was kicked out. She said: ‘I couldn’t believe it. I was devastated.’ Jule, a childcare worker, said she could not find anywhere to rent because she is on a zero-hours contract and her income is irregular. She added: ‘I had to leave the family home because it was beyond what I could afford. Ainsley refused to be a guarantor for me.’ Jule now spends her days sitting in coffee shops or the local library to stay warm and pays £2 to shower at a local swimming pool. She added: ‘I believe there are very dark forces operating within football.
‘They want to see me down, because the longer Ainsley is away from me the less of a positive influence I can exert over him. ‘There are times when I have sat on my own and cried. ‘It wouldn’t matter if Ainsley lost all the money tomorrow. He and Cordi are my sons and I love them. I just want them to know that.’ A source close to Ainsley said he was unaware Jule was living in a storage container and added he has given her money and continues to do so. Arsenal and Maitland-Niles declined to comment.