Paul Gascoigne will be remembered as one of English football’s greatest talents, although he never reached his full potential because of alcoholism. Gascgoine played for Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Lazio, Rangers, Everton and Middlesbrough.
As an England International, he is best known for two seminal moments: one brilliant, and one emotional. In the 1996 European Championship against Scotland, Gascoigne scored one of the most memorable England goals.
The brilliant moment: As a ball was played into him by Darren Anderton, he faked to go left, but flicked the ball over the bemused head of Colin Hendry with his left foot, and then volleyed it in with his right as Hendry fell to the floor.
The emotional moment came against West Germany in the semi-final of the World Cup, in Italia 90: Already on a yellow card, Gascoigne launched into a reckless challenge on Thomas Berthold, receiving another yellow, which would have ruled him out of the final.
Although England eventually lost the penalty shoot-out, it was Gascoigne’s tears after the booking that affected the nation and gave rise to “Gazzamania.”
He now seems hell-bent on following the same path as the legendary George Best, who also could not stop drinking – even after a liver transplant. Terry Barker, Gascoigne’s agent, has said that he needs “immediate help.”
There have been plenty of calls from the football fraternity for someone to step in and help him too – but they are all missing the point – he has had continual help, the problem is, he does not want to help himself.
I felt compelled to write this after seeing a picture of Gascoigne this week. Below the photo of him were the words: Paul Gascoigne, 45; he looked closer to 65. Best made it to 59; unless Gascoigne looks within and finds the strength to say no more, I doubt he will see another 14 months, never mind 14 years. Follow me on twitter