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Paul Gascoigne

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Paul Gascoigne
Personal information
Full name Paul John Gascoigne[1]
Date of birth (1967-05-27) 27 May 1967 (age 52)[1]
Place of birth Gateshead, England
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)[1]
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
1980–1985 Newcastle United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1985–1988 Newcastle United 92 (21)
1988–1992 Tottenham Hotspur 92 (19)
1992–1995 Lazio 43 (6)
1995–1998 Rangers 74 (30)
1998–2000 Middlesbrough 41 (4)
2000–2002 Everton 32 (1)
2002 Burnley 6 (0)
2003 Gansu Tianma 4 (2)
2004 Boston United 4 (0)
Total 388 (83)
National team
1987–1988 England U21 12 (5)
1989 England B 4 (1)
1988–1998 England 57 (10)
Teams managed
2005 Kettering Town
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Paul John Gascoigne (/ˈɡæskɔɪn/, born 27 May 1967) is an English former professional football player and manager. He is also known by his nickname, Gazza. He earned 57 caps during his England career. The National Football Museum stated that he is "widely recognised as the most naturally talented English footballer of his generation".[2]

Born and raised in Gateshead, Gascoigne signed schoolboy terms with Newcastle United, before turning professional with the top tier (pre-Premier League creation) club in 1985. Three years later he was sold on to Tottenham Hotspur for a £2.2 million fee. He won the FA Cup with Spurs in 1991, before being sold to Italian club Lazio for £5.5 million the following year. In July 1995, he was transferred to Rangers for £4.3 million, and helped the club to two league titles and two trophies. He returned to England in a £3.4 million move to Middlesbrough in March 1998. He made his debut in the Premier League in the 1998–99 season, having already featured in the 1998 Football League Cup Final. He switched to Everton in July 2000, and later had spells with Burnley, Gansu Tianma (China), and Boston United.

Gascoigne was part of the England team that reached fourth place in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, where he famously cried after receiving a yellow card in the semi-final with West Germany which meant he would have been suspended for the final itself had England won the game. He also helped the team to the semi-finals of UEFA Euro 1996, which included scoring a goal against Scotland described by The Guardian in 2013 as "one of the most iconic goals in the game's recent history".[3] He has been involved in a number of high profile goal celebrations at both club and international level, including the "dentist's chair" celebration from Euro ‘96, and mimicking playing a flute with Rangers in 1998.[4]

In the later parts of his career and especially following retirement, Gascoigne's life became dominated by severe mental and emotional problems, particularly alcoholism. He has been jailed or sectioned on numerous occasions and his personal struggles receive regular coverage in the British press. He has frequently attempted to live without alcohol, though rehabilitation programmes have provided only temporary relief. His personal issues ended his coaching career, and he has not worked in football since being dismissed as the manager of Kettering Town in 2005.

Early life[edit]

Gascoigne was born in Gateshead, County Durham, on 27 May 1967.[5][6] His father, John (1946–2018), was a hod carrier, and his mother, Carol, worked in a factory.[7] He was named Paul John Gascoigne in tribute to Paul McCartney and John Lennon of the Beatles.[8]

He attended Breckenbeds Junior High School, then the Heathfield Senior High School, both in the Low Fell area of Gateshead.[9] He was noticed by football scouts while playing for Gateshead Boys, though failed to impress in a trial at Ipswich Town.[10] Further trials at Middlesbrough and Southampton also proved unsuccessful, before the team he supported, Newcastle United, signed him as a schoolboy in 1980.[11] Gascoigne frequently got into trouble with his friend Jimmy "Five Bellies" Gardner. Gascoigne and Gardner were even taken to court and fined over a hit and run incident.[12] Newcastle chairman Stan Seymour Jr. described Gascoigne as "George Best without brains".[13]

While Gascoigne was successful on the football field, his childhood was marked by instability and tragedy. Initially his family lived in a single upstairs room in a council house with a shared bathroom, and moved several times during Gascoigne's early life.[14] When he was ten, Gascoigne witnessed the death of Steven Spraggon, the younger brother of a friend, who was killed in a traffic collision.[15] Around this time, his father began to suffer from seizures.[15] Gascoigne began developing obsessions and twitches, and was taken into therapy at age ten, but soon quit the therapy sessions after his father expressed doubts over the treatment methods.[16]

Gascoigne developed an addiction to gaming machines, frequently spending all his money on them, and also began shoplifting to fund his addiction.[17] He experienced further tragedy when a friend, whom he had encouraged to join Newcastle United from Middlesbrough, died whilst he was working for Gascoigne's uncle on a building site.[11]

At the age of fifteen, he took the decision to provide for his family – his parents and two sisters – financially, as he saw professional football as a way of earning more money than the rest of the family were capable of.[18] He enjoyed football, and later wrote that "I didn't have twitches or worry about death when I was playing football".[19] He was signed on as an apprentice at Newcastle on his sixteenth birthday.[20]

He was usually overweight whilst signed to the Newcastle youth side. Jack Charlton the Newcastle manager, claimed Gascoigne was a bit chubby and looked anything but a footballer.[21] Gascoigne ate Mars bars and other junk food.[21] Noting Gascoigne’s extra weight, Charlton, on the clubs tab, arranged for Gascoigne to eat lunch every day at a restaurant away from the ground,[21] believing he would eat high quality protein meals, instead of his usual high calorie junk food.[21] This did not work out, and Gascoigne still had a slight weight problem.[21] Charlton was not overly concerned as he believed this weight would give Gascoigne extra strength on the football pitch and he did not have many problems moving around anyway.[21]

Charlton also highlights that the teenager Gascoigne showed early signs of being a prankster, explaining on one occasion how Gascoigne tied Glenn Roeders boot laces together and how Roeder then stormed into Charlton’s office and told Charlton that "if he did not stop one fat sixteen-year-old apprentice messing about that he was going to chin the lad."[21] Charlton even warned him to stop messing with the senior pros, even suggesting to Gascoigne he may release him.[21] Charlton noted this did not stop him, and Gascoigne was never caught again as his future pranks got a little cuter following being confronted by Charlton and his staff.[21] Charlton also noted that Gascoigne’s personality was never vindictive.[21] As well as his pranks Gascoigne was gaffe prone.[22] He once injured himself through a moped accident which ruled him out of a prestigious youth tournament;[22] and he once lost Kevin Keegans boots on a bus.[22]

Club career[edit]

Newcastle United[edit]

At the beginning of the 1984-85 season Gascoigne was warned by Charlton about his junk food.[22] He was given 2 weeks to lose the weight.[22] Gascoigne then trained for ten days wrapped in a black bag in order to lose his excess weight.[22] Not long after though, Gascoigne would win the captaincy of the youth team;[22] and at the end of the season Gascoigne, along with his team mates, would ironically be fed a burger on the M1 by Jack Charlton after winning FA Youth Cup Final at Watford.[22] His team mate and friend Joe Allon claims it was probably the 1984-85 season that really made Gascoigne “Gazza”,[22] and also states the 1984-85 season was the season that put him onto the road to Italia 90, and on to becoming, in his opinion, the best player in the world.[22]

Manager Jack Charlton handed Gascoigne his first team debut as a substitute for George Reilly in a 1–0 win over Queens Park Rangers on 13 April 1985 at St James' Park.[23] Charlton later noted that Gascoigne's first team appearances under him were too brief to suggest he was more than a useful talent.[21]

Gascoigne captained Newcastle United's youth team to the FA Youth Cup in the 1984–85 season, and scored twice in the 4–1 victory over Watford in the final at Vicarage Road.[24] The youth team team included players like Joe Allon, Gary Kelly, Kevin Scott, Paul Stephenson, Ian Bogie, Brian Tinnion and Jeff Wrightson all who made a professional career in the game, either at Newcastle or elsewhere.[22]. On the run Newcastle beat Everton, Man City, Leeds United, Coventry City and Birmingham City, scoring 20 goals and conceding 3. They then met Watford in the final.[22] In the first leg of the final they drew 0-0.[22] Allon states that Newcastle were unusually poor in the first leg,[22] but in the second leg Newcastle smashed them, with Gascoigne being instrumental as the conductor.[22] In the match Gascoigne nutmegged a Watford player. The lad turned around and Gascoigne megged him again...[22] For this the Newcastle youth coach Jimmy Nelson, shouted “Behave yourself!”[22] Gascoigne then demonstrated his composure and timing and, whilst on the ball, whilst under pressure from some pressing, with a second to spare, he smiled and winked back at the coaching staff who had just shouted at him.[22] Nelson then remembers, after the smile and wink, Gascoigne struck a 50 yard pass onto the feet of Joe Allon.[22] Nelson believes with this pass, Joe Allon then went on to score.[22] It was in the second leg that Charlton also realized Newcastle had a player.[21] Gascoigne first goal in the match was a header, his second goal was the goal that impressed Charlton and his assistant Maurice Setters.[21] Charlton described the goal as a goal you'd only see once in a lifetime.[21] After he scored the goal Charlton said to Setters, "If you live to be a hundred, Maurice, you'll never see a better goal than that."[21]

After the match Jack Charlton told Gascoigne he would be in the first team the next day against Norwich City.[22] Gascoigne did travel to Norwich, though Charlton chose not to pick him.[22] Gascoigne believed Charlton could see it in his eyes that he wasn’t quite psychologically ready for first team football.[22] Charlton also offered Gascoigne professional terms to which Gascoigne accepted.[21]

At the age of 18 Gascoigne signed a two-year £120 a week contract at Newcastle, with the club also having a further two-year option clause.[25] Though Gascoigne has written his first contract was around £120 a week, Charlton claims Gascoigne’s first contract was roughly £200 per week.[21] Charlton highlights that this money for a teenage footballer in the mid 1980s was very good money.[21] One worry Charlton had about Gascoigne was Gascoigne’s generosity.[21] Charlton noted Gascoigne was the type of lad who was “liable to buy drinks all round.”[21] Joe Allon explained Gascoigne could be incredibly generous, he’d give money away to people he believed needed it more than himself, leaving himself broke.[22] Lee Clark described how Gascoigne’s generosity was not just with money. It was also with his actions. Clark explained how he was playing in a youth international match at Wembley stadium. This match was before an England International match that Gascoigne was involved in. Prior to the kick off Clark had learned the last train was at 9:30pm. This meant his father could not make it home. He explained this to Gascoigne. Gascoigne told Clark not to worry and that he would bring him home. After Gascoigne’s game, Gascoigne took Clark Snr. home to Newcastle with him.[26] Clark explained how Gascoigne did not just do this type of thing for him, he did it for every player too.[26] Through noting Gascoigne’s generous personality, Charlton arranged that around half of Gascoigne’s wage be paid into a bank account for him to collect in a lump sum at the end of his first contract.[21]

Lee Clark, who was once hailed to be the next Gazza,[27] and who would go on to become a member of the Kevin Keegan teams of the 1990s,[28] described how Gascoigne as a first team professional, unlike some after they had suddenly attained first team squad status, was down to earth. Gascoigne never became aloof with the youth team players.[29] At the age of 16, Lee Clark remembers signing his first apprenticeship contract for Newcastle. Clark recalls that as he was going through the door to the office with his parents to sign his contract with the old guard, and to the laughter of Clark and his parents, Gascoigne -who was also in the reception area and conveying he was hard done by- shouted to Clark, “Take them for fucking everything, son. Take them for every penny!”[30] Clark highlighted Gascoigne used to join in with the youth team training, and would have a laugh and a joke with Clark and his teammates.[31]

"On the way back from Norwich after my debut Gazza told me to go over to the boss and say: 'Mister Willie, I'm fucking hungry. Can I have fish and chips?' and rub my tummy. I didn't know what it meant of course. I just trusted Gazza and it brought the house down. All the lads were rolling about laughing. I learned the hard way never to take Gazza at face value."

Mirandinha, who at the time did not speak English, recalling a Gazza jape at his expense.[32]

Willie McFaul took over as manager for the 1985–86 season, and named Gascoigne in his first eleven from the opening game of the campaign; he took the place of Chris Waddle, who had been sold to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer.[33] He scored his first goal at home to Oxford United in a 3–0 victory on 21 September 1985, and claimed a further eight goals in the 1985–86 campaign.[34] Newcastle finished 11th in the First Division that season and, at the end of it, Gascoigne was featured on the front cover of the Rothmans Football Yearbook.[35]

He scored five goals in 24 league games in the 1986–87 season,[36] as the "Magpies" slipped to 17th place, just three points above the relegation play-offs.[37]

External video
Jackie Milburn on Gascoigne, 1988

In 1987-88 Newcastle United signed Mirandinha.[38] Mirandinha was the first Brazilian to play in British football[38] and the third South American footballer to play for Newcastle after George Robledo and his brother Ted, who played for Newcastle in the 1950s. Gascoigne wanted to give Mirandinha a warm welcome from himself and his fake twin brother.[38] The players lined up to greet Mirandinha at the Benwell training ground. After Gascoigne greeted Mirandinha, Gascoigne then sneaked along the back of the line up, re-joined the line up and greeted Mirandinha for a second time; hoping to try and convince the Brazilian he had met the Gascoigne twins.[38] Lee Clark explained Mirandinha was a super guy.[39] Clark also deduced that if anyone had decided to have Gazza as his mentor they wanted to have their head examined...[39] Gascoigne, in his eagerness to welcome to Mirandinha, also took it upon himself to teach Mirandinha English.[38] His first exercise was to teach Mirandinha the days of the week and then have his team mates test Mirandinha on his progress. Gascoigne taught Mirandinha all the days of the week but substituted Wednesday for a swear word.[38] Mirandinha once highlighted he wanted a coffee from the soup and hot drinks seller at Benwell. Gascoigne explained to Mirandinha the English for “I would like a coffee, please,” was, “Fuck off Ronnie. Fuck off!”[39] Mirandinha then asked for a coffee. Ronnie the coffee seller thought Mirandinha was being disrespectful when Mirandinha asked for a coffee.[39] Clark explained everyone else was falling around laughing.[39] Gascoigne also wrote off Mirandinha sponsored car after borrowing it...[38] Gascoigne was soon told Mirandinha’s kids wanted a puppy, and to make up for crashing Mirandinha’s car, Gascoigne then bought the family a Springer Spaniel. Mirandinha’s kids named the dog Gazza.[38]

In 1988, on the BBC program Football Focus the Newcastle United legend, and three times FA Cup winner Jackie Milburn stated that Gascoigne was “the best player in the world.” This confident statement by Milburn, was scoffed at.[40]

In a 0–0 draw with Wimbledon at Plough Lane in February 1988, hard-man Vinnie Jones singled him out for attention, and in an incident that would become a much-publicised photograph, Jones grabbed him by the genitals as Gascoigne screamed in agony.[41] Gascoigne subsequently sent Jones a red rose, and the two became good friends.[42] He was named as the PFA Young Player of the Year and listed on the PFA Team of the Year in the 1987–88 season.

Gascoigne’s period at Newcastle coincided with a period of unrest and instability at the club.[43] Behind the scenes there was a takeover battle going on. It involved the Newcastle board of directors and the Magpie Group. The Magpie Group included Sir John Hall and Malcolm Dix amongst the membership.[43] Being tipped off that Gascoigne was planning on leaving but that he would want to stay if the club showed ambition, John Hall contacted Gascoigne asking him if he would wait a bit.[38] Gascoigne, sensing a long term board room battle behind the scenes, did not think it would be wise to wait.[38] In 2019, John Hall explained Newcastle United was owned by old money.[43] John Hall maintained it was treated like family silver and this handicapped the club.[43] It was a club with many share holders, from all corners of the British isles.[43] Many shareholders were unaware they had been gifted family shares in the club going back generations.[43] From this point in 1988, John Hall and Malcolm Dix would spend 3 years tracing share holders and buying up the shares to wrestle control from Mckeag. It would be 3 years before Newcastle could be run like a modern football club.[43] Gascoigne also explains in his autobiography that because of the years it took for John Hall to take control of the boardroom he was, eventually, proven right to leave.[38]

The old board which included Mckeag and Seymour, would not budge and were only prepared to offer Gascoigne the extension that had been agreed when he was 18.[38] This was unacceptable to Gascoigne.[38] Tottenham had roughly offered 6 times the £250 he was getting at Newcastle,[38] Man Utd roughly the same amount.[38] Beyond staying at an ambitious Newcastle,[38] his next choice to sign a playing contract was Liverpool but with no offer forthcoming, Gascoigne promised Alex Ferguson that he would sign for Manchester United.[44] Alex Ferguson duly went on holiday to Malta expecting to sign Gascoigne. On his holiday he received the news that Gascoigne had signed for Spurs, for a record British fee of £2.2 million.[45] Irvin Scholar was also interested in Gascoigne and had spotted the ability of Gascoigne 3 year previously...[46] Gascoigne noted he did not have time to wait in his career and he signed for Tottenham Hotspur, and Irvin Scholar, despite preferring to sign for a northern club.[38] He was impressed with the money offered and the fact that Irvin Scholar did not seem stuffy.[38] In his 1999 autobiography, Ferguson claimed that Gascoigne was wooed into signing for Tottenham after they bought a house for his impoverished family.[47] Gascoigne in his own autobiography states that after he was given his £100,000 signing on fee, he spent £70,000 buying property for his mother and father.[38]

Tottenham Hotspur[edit]

In his first season at White Hart Lane Gascoigne helped Terry Venables's Spurs to sixth in the First Division, scoring seven goals in 37 appearances.[48] They rose to third place in 1989–90, but were still 16 points behind champions Liverpool.[48] He was named as BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1990, and on accepting the award said that "I haven't won anything in the game as yet. But the World Cup did help to put England on the map".[49] He was also named as Tottenham Hotspur's Player of the Year.[50]

Gascoigne was named on the PFA Team of the Year in the 1990–91 season as Tottenham reached the FA Cup Final, with victories over Blackpool, Oxford United, Portsmouth, Notts County and North London derby rivals Arsenal. He scored the opening goal of the 3–1 victory over Arsenal at Wembley with a free-kick,[51] one of six goals he scored in the competition. Spurs at this juncture were also under significant financial strain with huge 10 million pound debt.[46] With Spurs being tied to a massive debt, Spurs hired a financial advisor called Nat Solomon. Solomon strongly argued for selling Gascoigne to Lazio to keep the vultures at bay.[46] Going into the final against Nottingham Forest Spurs had readily accepted an offer from Lazio and Gascoigne had already agreed the playing terms to join the Italian club. The deal would be worth £8.5 million to Tottenham.[52]

His final was to end in injury. 15 minutes into the game he committed a dangerous knee-high foul on Gary Charles and ruptured his own cruciate ligaments in his right knee.[51] England teammate Stuart Pearce scored from the resultant free kick, and Gascoigne subsequently collapsed after the kick-off, forcing him to leave the match on a stretcher.[53] Tottenham went on to win the Cup in extra-time.[51] Lee Clark believed that if Gascoigne had have not have injured his knee in the 1991 FA Cup Final, Gascoigne would have become the best player in the world for a generation.[54]

He missed the entire 1991–92 season while he recovered, suffering a further knee injury in late 1991, when an incident at a nightclub on Tyneside kept him out for even longer.[55] The saga over Gascoigne's proposed transfer to Lazio dominated the tabloid press throughout 1991, often overshadowing the key national news of that time – namely the recession and rise in unemployment that it sparked – although the broadsheet newspapers generally kept stories about Gascoigne confined to their back pages.[56]

I'm very pleased for Paul but it's like watching your mother-in-law drive off a cliff in your new car.

— Terry Venables speaking after the deal with Lazio was agreed.[57]

Lazio[edit]

Gascoigne eventually joined Lazio for a fee of £5.5 million (equivalent to £11.18 million in 2018); he received a £2 million signing-on fee and signed a contract worth £22,000 a week.[58] He made his Serie A debut on 27 September 1992 in a match against Genoa which was televised in Britain as well as Italy.[59] He failed to fully settle in Italy and was beset by negative media interest which was not helped by the numerous occasions he punched reporters and the time when he belched down a microphone on live television.[60][61] He was well received by the club's fans, but not by the club's owner Sergio Cragnotti, who resented him after Gascoigne greeted him by saying "Tua figlia, grande tette" (roughly translated as "Your daughter, big tits").[62] His form was inconsistent in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico as he had previously spent a year out injured, but he endeared himself to Eagles fans when he scored in the 89th minute to equalise during the Rome derby against A.S. Roma.[63] He broke his cheekbone whilst on international duty in April 1993, and had to play the remaining games of the season in a mask.[64] Lazio ended the campaign in fifth place, which was considered a success as it meant qualification for European competition for the first time in 16 years.[65]

He fell badly out of shape before the 1993–94 season and was told by manager Dino Zoff to lose two stone (13 kg) by the start of the campaign else he would lose his first team place.[65] Gascoigne went on an extreme weight loss diet and succeeded in shedding the excess fat.[66] He kept his place in the team and captained the club against Cremonese when regular captain Roberto Cravero was substituted.[67] In April of 1994 he broke his leg in training whilst attempting to tackle Alessandro Nesta.[68] Upon his recovery he was disgruntled with new head coach Zdeněk Zeman's stern fitness approach, and both club and player decided to part ways at the end of the 1994–95 season.[69]

Rangers[edit]

"There's no doubt that Gascoigne has been one of the players to brighten up Scottish football over the last 30 to 40 years. It was an absolute privilege and a pleasure to play with somebody of that talent. I actually think we got the best of Gascoigne when he was at Rangers. And does he deserve his place in the Scotland Hall of Fame? You're joking, 100% he does."

— Ally McCoist in 2018.[70]

Gascoigne signed for Rangers in July 1995, for a club record fee of £4.3 million, on wages of £15,000 a week.[71] He made an immediate impact; in the fifth league game of the season in the Old Firm match at Celtic Park he scored a goal after running almost the full length of the pitch.[72] On 30 December, in a match against Hibernian, Gascoigne was booked by referee Dougie Smith after he picked Smith's yellow card up from the ground and jokingly 'booked' the referee.[73] Rangers went on to win the league in the 1995–96 season, clinching the title in the penultimate game of the season against Aberdeen at Ibrox Stadium; Gascoigne scored a hat-trick during the game.[74] Rangers won the double as they also won the Scottish Cup by knocking out Keith, Clyde, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Celtic, before beating Heart of Midlothian 5–1 in the final at Hampden Park. He scored 19 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions, and was named as both PFA Scotland Players' Player of the Year and SFWA Footballer of the Year.[1][75]

Rangers won the league title again in 1996–97, their ninth in succession. Gascoigne claimed hat-tricks against Kilmarnock and Motherwell, and ended the campaign with 17 goals in 34 games. In this season, manager Walter Smith and assistant Archie Knox became increasingly concerned over Gascoigne's reliance on alcohol.[76] The "Gers" won another double by winning the League Cup, knocking out Clydebank, Ayr United, Hibernian and Dunfermline Athletic en route to the final. Rangers beat Hearts 4–3 in the final at Celtic Park, with Gascoigne scoring two goals and Ally McCoist claiming the other two.[77]

In November 1997, Gascoigne received a five-match ban after being sent off for violent conduct during the Old Firm derby following an incident with Celtic midfielder Morten Wieghorst.[78] In January 1998, Gascoigne courted serious controversy during a goal celebration where he mimed playing a flute (symbolic of the flute-playing of Orange Order marchers) during an Old Firm match at Celtic Park.[79][80] The gesture infuriated Celtic fans who had been taunting him and Gascoigne was fined £20,000 by Rangers after the incident.[81] He also received a death threat from an Irish Republican Army (IRA) member following the incident.[81] The 1997–98 season was not a success, as Gascoigne scored just three goals in 28 games and Rangers failed to win any trophies, losing the league title to Celtic.[82]

Middlesbrough[edit]

Gascoigne left Scotland to join Middlesbrough for £3.45 million in March 1998, where former England teammate Bryan Robson was manager.[83] His first match was the 1998 Football League Cup Final defeat to Chelsea at Wembley, where he came on as a substitute.[84] He played seven games in the First Division, helping "Boro" into the Premier League as runners-up to Nottingham Forest at the end of the 1997–98 season.[85]

Before the 1998–99 campaign began, Gascoigne began suffering from blackouts after blaming himself for the death of a friend, who died after Gascoigne and a group of friends went on a night out drinking.[86] Despite his ongoing personal problems and his spell in rehab, Gascoigne started the season in good form and helped Middlesbrough into fourth place by Christmas.[87] They ended the season in ninth place and having scored three goals in 26 top-flight games Gascoigne was linked with a recall to the England squad, who were now managed by former teammate Kevin Keegan and lacking a creative presence in midfield.[87]

His career went into terminal decline during the 1999–2000 campaign, with Gascoigne breaking his arm after elbowing opposition midfield player George Boateng in the head during Middlesbrough's 4–0 defeat to Aston Villa at the Riverside Stadium.[88] He subsequently received a three match ban and £5,000 fine from the Football Association.[89]

Everton[edit]

Gascoigne signed a two-year contract with Everton, managed by former Rangers boss Walter Smith, after joining on a free transfer in July 2000.[90][91] He started the 2000–01 season well despite not playing every game due to his lack of fitness, but a series of niggling injuries and his ongoing depression took him out of the first team picture by Christmas.[92]

After spending time at an alcohol rehabilitation clinic in Arizona,[93] Gascoigne was fit enough to play for the "Toffees" in the 2001–02 season, and he scored his first goal for the club – and last in English football – away to Bolton Wanderers on 3 November.[94] Gascoigne then suffered a hernia injury, which kept him out of action for three months.[94] Walter Smith left Goodison Park in March, and Gascoigne left the club shortly after his successor, David Moyes, took charge.[95]

Later career[edit]

Gascoigne finished the 2001–02 season with Stan Ternent's Burnley,[96] where he made six First Division appearances.[97] The club narrowly missed out on the play-offs, and he left Turf Moor after only two months.[98] In 2002, he was inducted to the National Football Museum, being described as "the most naturally gifted English midfielder of his generation".[2] Fellow England midfielder Paul Ince said that Gascoigne was "the best player I've ever played with ... he had everything. He was amazing."[2]

In summer 2002, Gascoigne went on trial with American club D.C. United, but rejected a contract.[99] First Division club Gillingham also made enquiries and Gascoigne had an unsuccessful trial with the club.[100]

In February 2003, he signed a nine-month contract with China League One club Gansu Tianma in both a playing and coaching role.[101][102] Gascoigne scored in his first match in China,[103][104] and in total scored two goals in four league games but his mental state meant that he had to return to America for treatment against drink and depression in April,[105] and he never returned despite the club ordering him to do so.[106]

In July 2004, Gascoigne was signed as player-coach by League Two side Boston United,[107] and upon signing spoke of his coaching aspirations, saying that "I can become a great coach and a great manager".[108] Gascoigne left Boston after he made five appearances in a three-month spell, citing professional reasons including his coaching career.[109][110]

International career[edit]

Gascoigne was called up to the England under-21 side in summer 1987, and scored with a free-kick in his debut in a 2–0 win over Morocco.[111] He went on to win 12 caps for the under-21s under Dave Sexton.[112]

Gascoigne was first called up to the full England squad by Bobby Robson for a friendly against Denmark on 14 September 1988, and came on as a late substitute for Peter Beardsley in a 1–0 win.[113] He scored his first goal for England in a 5–0 victory over Albania at Wembley on 26 April 1989.[114] He made his first start in the following game against Chile, and kept his first team place for most matches in the run in to the 1990 FIFA World Cup.[115] He also played four games for the England B team. He secured his place in the World Cup squad in a 4–2 win against Czechoslovakia when he scored one goal and was a key component in the other three.[116]


Gascoigne went to the 1990 World Cup in Italy having never started a competitive international.[117] He played in all three of the group games and England topped Group F, Gascoigne providing the assist for Mark Wright's winner against Egypt.[118] In the first knockout game against Belgium he made another assist after chipping a free-kick into the penalty area, where David Platt volleyed the ball into the net.[119] Gascoigne was at the centre of the action again in the quarter-final clash with Cameroon when he gave away a penalty, which Cameroon converted. In extra-time he made a successful through-ball pass from which Gary Lineker won and subsequently scored a penalty, which proved to be the winning goal.[120]

"Before Paul Gascoigne, did anyone ever become a national hero and a dead-cert millionaire by crying? Fabulous. Weep and the world weeps with you."

Salman Rushdie writing in The Independent in 1990.[121]

"Out of everything in my career, the moment people ask me about most often was when Gazza got booked in that semi-final. I could see his bottom lip was going. I think it says a lot about Bobby that it was him I turned to, to ask him to have a word. I didn't know that the moment would be caught on camera."

— Gary Lineker.[122]

His tears in the national limelight made Gascoigne famous enough to be lampooned on Spitting Image. His puppet, which employed projectile tears, is now on display at the National Football Museum.[123]

On 4 July 1990, England played West Germany in a World Cup semi-final match at Juventus's Stadio delle Alpi in Turin. Gascoigne, having already received a yellow card during England's 1–0 victory over Belgium in the second round, was booked for a foul on Thomas Berthold,[6] which meant that he would be suspended for the final if England won the match. Television cameras showed that he had tears in his eyes following the yellow card and made Gascoigne a highly popular figure with the sympathetic British public.[124] The match culminated in a penalty shoot-out, which the Germans won after Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle missed their penalties.[125][126]

Robson quit the England job after the tournament, and his successor Graham Taylor dropped Gascoigne in favour of 32-year-old Gordon Cowans in a Euro '92 qualifier against Ireland in November 1990, citing tactical reasons.[127] He returned to the starting eleven for a friendly against Cameroon the following February, before injury in the FA Cup final three months later caused him to miss the next 21 England fixtures, including all of UEFA Euro 1992, where England failed to progress beyond the group stages.[128]

Gascoigne returned to fitness in time for the opening qualifying game against Norway in October 1992, and before playing in the 1–1 draw he responded to a Norwegian television crew's request to say 'a few words to Norway' by saying "fuck off Norway".[129] His message was broadcast on Norwegian television and he was forced to apologize for the remark.[130][131] The following month he scored two goals in a 4–0 victory over Turkey.[129] Qualification ended badly for England, as they ended in third place behind Norway and the Netherlands and missed out on a place in the 1994 FIFA World Cup.[132]

A broken leg in 1994 meant Gascoigne was unable to play for 15 months, but by the time he returned to fitness, Terry Venables – his former manager at Spurs – had been appointed as England manager.[133] As England were hosting UEFA Euro 1996 they did not have to go through the qualification process, so they instead played numerous friendlies, most of which featured Gascoigne in the starting line-up.[134] The last of these games was played in Hong Kong, after which numerous England players were photographed on a night out in which Gascoigne and several others having drinks poured into their mouths whilst sitting in the "dentist's chair".[135] The tournament opened with a 1–1 draw with Switzerland, during which Gascoigne was substituted.[136] He scored in the second game of the tournament, against Scotland. He received the ball from Darren Anderton outside the Scotland penalty area, flicked the ball over Colin Hendry with his left foot and changed direction; Hendry was completely wrong-footed and, as the ball dropped, Gascoigne volleyed it with his right foot past Andy Goram.[137] The goal was followed by the "dentist's chair" celebration referring to the incident before the tournament, where Gascoigne lay on the ground as if he were sitting in the dentist's chair, and teammates sprayed lucozade from bottles into his open mouth.[137] Ally McCoist suggested Gascoigne may have been embarrassed about his goal, stating,"That goal was that brilliant that Gascoigne never mentioned it to us. I'm deadly serious. See if it had been a tap-in and the goalkeeper had made a save and he'd knocked it in from half a yard, he would have made our lives a misery for five, six years. I think even he knew it was brilliance. I'm not saying for a minute he was embarrassed, but he didn't want to lay it on thick because it was a bit of genius."[138]

England beat the Netherlands 4–1 to make it through to the knock-out stages. They then drew 0–0 with Spain before winning 4–2 on penalties, the last of which was converted by Gascoigne.[139] England drew 1–1 with Germany in the semi-finals, and Gascoigne missed the chance to win the game in extra-time when he came inches away from connecting to an Alan Shearer cross yards in front of an unguarded German net.[140] England lost to Germany in the resulting penalty shoot-out, with Gareth Southgate missing England's sudden death penalty.[140]

"Gazza is no longer a fat, drunken imbecile. He is, in fact, a football genius."

— The Daily Mirror editorial entitled "Mr Paul Gascoigne: An Apology" following his solo goal against Scotland in Euro '96.[141]

Under Glenn Hoddle, Gascoigne was picked regularly and helped England win the Tournoi de France in 1997 ahead of Brazil, France and Italy.[142] Qualification for the 1998 FIFA World Cup went down to the last group game against Italy at the Stadio Olimpico, and Gascoigne put in a disciplined and mature performance to help England secure the 0–0 draw that was enough to take them through to the tournament.[143] Following qualification, British tabloid newspapers would publish pictures of Gascoigne eating kebabs late at night with his DJ friend Chris Evans.[144] These pictures were published only a week before the final squad was due to be chosen.[144] The pictures disturbed Hoddle and Hoddle elected not to pick Gascoigne in the final squad.[145] After hearing the news Gascoigne wrecked Hoddle's room in a rage before being restrained.[145] Gascoigne, who won 57 caps and also scored 10 goals for England, would never play for England again.[112]

Managerial and coaching career[edit]

Having already gained some coaching experience in China, Gascoigne signed for Boston United on 30 July 2004. After being at the club for 11 games he left (partly as a result of the club refusing to let him participate in the reality television show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!)[146] on 5 October, to begin a football coaching course. After leaving Boston, he stated that he was interested in taking over as manager of Scottish side Greenock Morton,[147][148] but this came to nothing.

In mid-2005 he spent two months as player-coach at the recently founded Portuguese team Algarve United, but he returned to England after a proposed contract never materialised.[149] He was appointed manager of Conference North club Kettering Town on 27 October 2005, and also planned to put in enough money to own one-third of the club to show his commitment.[150] Previous manager Kevin Wilson was appointed as director of football, and Paul Davis was appointed as the club's assistant manager.[151] Bookmakers put odds on Gascoigne being dismissed before Christmas, though he insisted that he was at the club "for the long haul".[151] Attempts to get new sponsors on board were successful, though results on the pitch soon went against Kettering.[152] His tenure lasted just 39 days, and he was dismissed by the club's board on 5 December. The club's owner, Imraan Ladak, blamed Gascoigne's alcohol problems, stating that he drank almost every day he worked.[153] Gascoigne later claimed that the owner had interfered incessantly and harboured ambitions of being a manager himself, despite knowing little about football.[154] He was never on a contract at the club, and was never paid for his six weeks work, nor was he given the chance to invest money in the club as he had first planned.[155]

Gascoigne came close to being appointed manager of Garforth Town in October 2010,[156] and after weeks of talks between his agent and the club he decided to turn down the offer, though reiterated his desire to return to football management.[157]

Other projects[edit]

Gascoigne playing for England during Soccer Aid

At the height of "Gazzamania" following the 1990 World Cup, he reached number 2 in the UK Top 40 with "Fog on the Tyne", a collaborative cover with Lindisfarne that earned him a gold disc.[158] He established Paul Gascoigne Promotions and hired a number of staff to handle the hundreds of requests from companies wishing to use his likeness and/or endorsement to promote their products.[159] He signed an exclusive deal with The Sun, which did not prevent the newspaper from joining its rivals in sensationalising the various scandals he became embroiled in.[159] He promoted two video games: Gazza's Superstar Soccer and Gazza II.

In August 2006, he visited Botswana on behalf of the Football Association's international outreach week and played football with the children from the SOS Children's Village there.[160] On 25 July 2009, Gascoigne appeared on a Sporting Heroes edition of the BBC television quiz The Weakest Link, where he engaged in banter with host Anne Robinson.[161] The next day he played in an England versus Germany charity football match to help raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.[162] He took part in the first edition of Soccer Aid in 2006, playing for an England team captained by Robbie Williams.[163]

In August 2014, Gascoigne began playing amateur football after signing for Bournemouth Sunday League Division Four team Abbey.[164] In 2015, he was the subject of a documentary called Gascoigne.

Style of play[edit]

"In my commentating career Paul Gascoigne was the best English player I ever saw. The way he could go past people, his upper body strength, he had the lot. He could score goals, he could head goals, he could pick a pass like no other England player of his generation and very few since. He was just the complete footballer. And it was all natural. It wasn't because of hours of coaching, he just had it."

— Former BBC football commentator John Motson.[165]

A creative, hard-working and technically gifted playmaker who played as an attacking midfielder, Gascoigne was capable both of scoring and setting up goals, due to his passing accuracy and his powerful striking ability.[166][167][168][169] He had pace, physical strength, balance and excellent dribbling skills, which allowed him to protect the ball, beat opponents and withstand physical challenges.[166][170][171] FourFourTwo stated: "A central midfielder with Glenn Hoddle's eye for a pass and Bryan Robson's love of a tackle, Gascoigne could be inconsistent and positionally suspect," but added: "Gascoigne was no smoke-and-mirrors showboater: his creativity was crucial in deciding deadlocked matches."[117]

Gary Lineker described Gascoigne as "the most naturally gifted technical footballer that I played with,"[172] who possessed "a sort of impudence" and "great confidence." Lineker added: "You could see he played completely for the love of the game."[117] Steven Gerrard named Gascoigne as his "hero".[173] Gareth Southgate said: "You've got very good players and then there are top players. In my time in the England setup, Paul Gascoigne, Paul Scholes and [Wayne] Rooney just had that little bit more than all the others. And we are talking high‑level people there, players like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and David Beckham."[174] Former Newcastle United player Lee Clark added: "Gazza had everything. He could dribble, take on players, thread defence-splitting passes through the eye of a needle to the strikers and score incredible goals."[175]

FourFourTwo described his performances in the 1990 World Cup as being "as close as the English ever got to the sort of bravura brilliance by which Diego Maradona had dragged the Albiceleste to World Cup glory four years earlier." Football writer Brian Glanville said that Gascoigne displayed "a flair, a superlative technique, a tactical sophistication, seldom matched by an England player since the war."[117] Despite his talent, Gascoigne was also criticised for his erratic behaviour and aggression on the pitch. His turbulent and often unhealthy lifestyle off the pitch, and his tendency to pick up injuries, are thought to have affected his career.[166][168][176]

Personal life[edit]

Gascoigne at the Memorabilia convention,
Birmingham, 2006

Gascoigne married his long-term girlfriend Sheryl (née Failes) in Ware, Hertfordshire, in July 1996, after they had been together for around six years.[177] He later admitted to violence towards Sheryl during their marriage.[178] They divorced in early 1999.[179] In 2009 Sheryl published a tell-all book entitled Stronger: My Life Surviving Gazza.[180] Gascoigne had a son, Regan, with Sheryl and also adopted Sheryl's two children from her first marriage, Mason and Bianca. Bianca is a glamour model and television personality, and appeared on reality TV show Love Island.[181]

During the 1990s, Gascoigne, Danny Baker and Chris Evans had a much publicized friendship, and Gascoigne frequently appeared on their radio and television shows on Talksport and TFI Friday.[182][183]

In November 2008, Gascoigne was faced with a bankruptcy petition over a £200,000 tax bill, having not filed any tax returns for more than two years.[184] On 25 May 2011, he avoided being declared bankrupt by the High Court in London, despite still owing £32,000.[185]

In October 2015, he was fined and made the subject of a restraining order for harassing an ex-girlfriend and assaulting a photographer.[186] In September 2016, Gascoigne admitted using "threatening or abusive words or behaviour" after telling a racist joke in November 2015 and racially abusing his black bodyguard.[187] He was fined £1,000 and was ordered to pay £1,000 in compensation.[188]

On 27 December 2016, Gascoigne was hospitalised with head injuries including broken teeth after being kicked in the back down stairs in a London hotel, where he allegedly made racist remarks according to a witness. In July 2017, his assailant was jailed for 23 weeks and ordered to pay £7,800 compensation.[189][190]

On 17 April 2017 Gascoigne was hailed as a hero, after he reportedly confronted and repelled would-be burglars of a neighbour's home near his own in Poole. He was treated in hospital for injuries sustained.[191]

Gascoigne has three autobiographies: Gazza: My Story (with Hunter Davies) published in 2004, Being Gazza: Tackling My Demons (with Hunter Davies and John McKeown), published in 2006, and Glorious: My World, Football and Me, published in 2011. In Gazza: My Story, and in Being Gazza: Tackling My Demons, he refers to treatment for bulimia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, and alcoholism.[192] The books also describes his addictive personality, which has led him to develop addictions of varying severity on alcohol, cocaine, chain smoking, gambling, high-caffeine energy drinks, exercise, and junk food.[193]

On June 12th 2019 it was announced that a feature film based on his life was under production by 16:02 Films with the working title 30 Years of Hurt, to be directed by Tom Storvik. Among the cast are Norwegian actress Amalie Olufsen, set to portray Sheryl Gascoigne as well as an unnamed Game of Thrones star set to portray Gascoigne himself. [194]

Mental illness, alcoholism and assault[edit]

Gascoigne first entered therapy sessions in October 1998 when he was admitted into Priory Hospital after a drinking session where he drank 32 shots of whisky which left him at "rock bottom"; then-manager Bryan Robson signed him into the clinic whilst Gascoigne was unconscious.[195] He was released, at his own insistence, two weeks into the suggested minimum stay of 28 days.[196] His subsequent visits to the Priory became more infrequent, and he eventually returned to drinking alcohol.[197] In 2001 Gascoigne's then-chairman Bill Kenwright contacted Gascoigne's therapist at the Priory, John McKeown, who organised more treatment to help Gascoigne to control his drinking.[198] As part of the treatment he was sent to the United States where he had a stay at a clinic in Cottonwood, Arizona. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.[198][199] He stayed at the clinic in 2003 after he suffered low points working in China, and again in 2004 after retiring from football.[200]

In February 2008 he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act after an incident at the Malmaison Hotel in Newcastle upon Tyne. He was taken into protective custody to prevent self-harm.[201] He was sectioned again in June, and in September he was hospitalised after he overdosed on alcohol and drugs in an apparent suicide attempt.[202]

Gascoigne was arrested for a disturbance outside a takeaway in February 2010. The following month he was charged with drunk driving, driving without a licence, and driving without insurance.[203] On 9 July 2010 Gascoigne appeared at the scene of the tense stand-off between the police and the fugitive Raoul Moat, claiming to be a friend of Moat and stating that he had brought him "a can of lager, some chicken, a fishing rod, a Newcastle shirt and a dressing gown." He was denied access to Moat.[204] In August 2011 Gascoigne sued The Sun, claiming that its coverage of him during the Raoul Moat incident interrupted his treatment for alcoholism.[205]

In October 2010, Gascoigne was arrested for drunk driving. He subsequently admitted being more than four times over the limit at Newcastle upon Tyne Magistrates Court.[206] One day after being warned he could face a prison sentence for drunk driving, Gascoigne was arrested for possession of cocaine.[207] He should have appeared in court on 11 November to be sentenced for the drink driving offence, but instead he went into rehab on the south coast of England.[208] He was given an eight-week suspended sentence on 9 December 2010.[209]

In February 2013 his agent, Terry Baker, told BBC Radio 5 Live that Gascoigne had relapsed again: "He won't thank me for saying it but he immediately needs to get help ... His life is always in danger because he is an alcoholic. Maybe no one can save him – I don't know. I really don't know."[210] Gascoigne was placed in intensive care in a US hospital while being treated for alcoholism in Arizona in a rehabilitation programme thanks to financial support provided by ex-cricketer Ronnie Irani and broadcaster Chris Evans.[211] He was arrested for assaulting a railway security guard and being drunk and disorderly at Stevenage railway station on 4 July 2013; he was fined £1,000 after admitting the offence, and ordered to pay £100 compensation to the guard.[212]

In January 2014 Gascoigne entered rehab for his alcohol addiction for a seventh time at a £6,000-a-month clinic in Southampton.[213] In August he was again admitted to hospital in relation to his problems following an incident outside his home.[214] On 23 October 2014, police were called to his home in Poole after he was in a drink binge; he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act the next day and taken to a hospital for a three-day detox.[215]

On 6 January 2017, a spokesman for Gascoigne confirmed that he had entered a rehabilitation centre in a serious effort to stay “alcohol-free” in 2017.[216]

On 20 August 2018, Gascoigne was arrested at Durham station by British Transport Police for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman on board a train.[217] In November 2018 he was charged with sexual assault and was due to appear in court on the charge in December 2018.[217]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Club Season League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
Newcastle United 1984–85 First Division 2 0 2 0
1985–86 First Division 31 9 1 0 3 0 35 9
1986–87 First Division 24 5 2 0 26 5
1987–88 First Division 35 7 3 3 3 1 41 11
Tottenham Hotspur 1988–89 First Division 32 6 5 1 37 7
1989–90 First Division 34 6 4 1 38 7
1990–91 First Division 26 7 6 6 5 6 37 19
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
Lazio 1992–93 Serie A 22 4 4 0 26 4
1993–94 Serie A 17 2 17 2
1994–95 Serie A 4 0 4 0
Scotland League Scottish Cup League Cup Europe Total
Rangers 1995–96 Scottish Premier Division 28 14 4 3 3 1 7 1 42 19
1996–97 Scottish Premier Division 26 13 1 0 4 3 3 1 34 17
1997–98 Scottish Premier Division 20 3 3 0 5 0 28 3
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
Middlesbrough 1997–98 First Division 7 0 1 0 8 0
1998–99 Premier League 26 3 1 0 2 0 29 3
1999–2000 Premier League 8 1 1 0 2 0 11 1
Everton 2000–01 Premier League 14 0 1 0 15 0
2001–02 Premier League 18 1 4 0 1 0 23 1
Burnley 2001–02 First Division 6 0 6 0
China PR League FA Cup CSL Cup Asia Total
Gansu Tianma 2003 China League One 4 2 0 0 4 2
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
Boston United 2004–05 League Two 4 0 1 0 5 0
Total England 267 45 16 9 30 9 313 63
Italy 43 6 4 0 47 6
Scotland 74 30 8 3 7 4 15 2 104 39
China PR 4 2 4 2
Career total[218] 388 83 28 12 37 13 15 2 468 110

International[edit]

England national team
Year Apps Goals
1988 2 0
1989 4 1
1990 13 1
1991 1 0
1992 2 2
1993 6 2
1994 1 0
1995 6 0
1996 11 3
1997 8 1
1998 3 0
Total[219] 57 10

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list England's goal tally first.[219]
# Date Venue Opponent Result Competition Scored
1 26 April 1989 Wembley Stadium, London, England  Albania 5–0 1990 World Cup qualifier 1
2 25 April 1990 Wembley Stadium, London, England  Czechoslovakia 4–2 Friendly 1
3, 4 18 November 1992 Wembley Stadium, London, England  Turkey 4–0 1994 World Cup qualifier 2
5 31 March 1993 İzmir Atatürk Stadium, İzmir, Turkey  Turkey 2–0 1994 World Cup qualifier 1
6 8 September 1993 Wembley Stadium, London, England  Poland 3–0 1994 World Cup qualifier 1
7 23 May 1996 Workers' Stadium, Beijing, China  China PR 3–0 Friendly 1
8 15 June 1996 Wembley Stadium, London, England  Scotland 2–0 Euro 1996 finals 1
9 1 September 1996 Republican Stadium, Chișinău, Moldova  Moldova 3–0 1998 World Cup qualifier 1
10 10 September 1997 Wembley Stadium, London, England  Moldova 4–0 1998 World Cup qualifier 1

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Youth[edit]

Newcastle United

Senior[edit]

Tottenham Hotspur

Rangers

Middlesbrough

International[edit]

England

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

Specific[edit]

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Sources[edit]

External links[edit]