Photo: Itv. “No one can be the next Gazza” – Paul Gascoigne
In Gateshead on 27th May 1967, Paul John Gascoigne was born. Football was a big part of Paul’s childhood, he was noticed by several football scouts and after several unsuccessful trials as a schoolboy he was signed by the team he supported, his home team, Newcastle United in 1980.
Paul’s childhood was plagued by instability and tragedy. During his early life his family moved several times, he witnessed the death of a friends younger brother and around this time Paul’s father began suffering seizures. He was taken for therapy at age 10 after he developed obsessions and twitches but soon quit after his father expressed doubts over treatment.
He developed an addiction to gaming machines, often spending all of his money on his habit and soon began shoplifting in order to fund his addiction. At age 15 he decided to provide for his family and professional football was not only a way for him to do that but it was his passion too. Throughout the years he had an incredibly successful career within football, everyone was incredibly drawn to what was dubbed “Gazza Mania”.
Alan Shearer – “he was a genius with that football at his feet”
Sir Bobby Robson – “when Gazza was dribbling, he used to go through a minefield with his arm, a bit like you go through a supermarket”
Gary Lineker – “part of his genius, part of his magnificence, is the fact that he was so vulnerable. Without that vulnerable side, without all the things that come with Gazza, I don’t think Paul Gascoigne would have been the player that he was”
Gary Lineker – “The most naturally gifted footballer England has produced”
Paul Ince – “probably the best player I played with. What more can I say? He’s a maverick, he just had everything”
Les Ferdinand – “quite simply the best midfielder I’ve ever played with. In fact, he had the ability to be the best player in the world”
Sir Alex Ferguson – “he was the best player of his era, a breath of fresh air because he played with a smile”
Frank Lampard – “he was the one I always looked up to and wanted to be”
Paul’s personal life however was plagued by controversy. He admitted to violence towards then wife Sheryl. They divorced in 1999. He has been the subject of a bankruptcy petition, a restraining order as well as a racism scandal.
Now here’s where it gets really sad…
Paul Gascoigne has an issue with alcohol. He has had this issue for many years now. Paul has been in and out of rehab several times over the years and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act three times and hospitalised over an apparent suicide attempt.
This is really sad to me because, as a fellow Geordie, Gazza was, and still is to a degree, a legend in Newcastle. I do feel however the legend he once was and the legend he is today are two totally different people. Paul Gascoigne, once a powerhouse in the football community is now a shadow of his former self and more well known today as a struggling alcoholic.
I wish Paul Gascoigne well and most importantly of all I wish for him to find peace.