Paul Gascoigne

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Paul Gascoigne
Gascoigne, Paul.jpg
Personal information
Full namePaul John Gascoigne
Date of birth(1967-05-27) 27 May 1967 (age 46)
Place of birthDunston, Gateshead, England
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing positionMidfielder
Youth career
1980–1985Newcastle United
Senior career*
1985–1988Newcastle United92(21)
1988–1992Tottenham Hotspur92(19)
2003Gansu Tianma4(2)
2004Boston United4(0)
National team
1987–1988England U2113(5)
1989England B4(1)
Teams managed
2005Kettering Town
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
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Paul Gascoigne
Gascoigne, Paul.jpg
Personal information
Full namePaul John Gascoigne
Date of birth(1967-05-27) 27 May 1967 (age 46)
Place of birthDunston, Gateshead, England
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing positionMidfielder
Youth career
1980–1985Newcastle United
Senior career*
1985–1988Newcastle United92(21)
1988–1992Tottenham Hotspur92(19)
2003Gansu Tianma4(2)
2004Boston United4(0)
National team
1987–1988England U2113(5)
1989England B4(1)
Teams managed
2005Kettering Town
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Paul John Gascoigne (born 27 May 1967), nicknamed Gazza, is a former England international footballer.

Playing as a midfielder, he began his professional career with local club Newcastle United in 1985. Three years later he was sold on to Tottenham Hotspur for a £2 million fee. He won the FA Cup with Spurs in 1991, before he was sold to Italian club Lazio for £8.5 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.

Though well known throughout Europe for his club career, his football career is particularly remembered for his 57 England caps. He also won 13 caps for the England under-21s and four caps for the England B team. He was part of the England squad that reached fourth place in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, and was famously reduced to tears after receiving a yellow card in the semi-final with West Germany, which meant he would be suspended for the final itself had England won the game. He also helped the team to the semi-finals of UEFA Euro 1996, and again embedded himself in the national consciousness with a spectacular goal against Scotland that was coupled with a memorable goal celebration.

After retiring from professional football, his life became dominated by his mental and emotional problems, particularly his alcoholism. His problems have received regular coverage in the British press, especially during his various run-ins with the law in 2008-2010. He has attempted to live without alcohol on numerous occasions, though numerous rehabilitation programmes have provided only temporary relief. His problems ended his coaching career, and he has not worked since being fired as the manager of Kettering Town in 2005.

Early life[edit]

Gascoigne was born in the Dunston area of Gateshead, England.[1] He played for the local Redheugh Boys' Club despite being under-age. He later attended Breckenbeds Junior High School, then the Heathfield Senior High School, both in the Low Fell area of Gateshead.

He was noticed by football scouts while playing for Gateshead Boys, though failed to impress in a trial at Ipswich Town. Further trials at Middlesbrough and Southampton also proved unsuccessful, before Newcastle United signed him as a schoolboy in 1980. He was signed on as an apprentice at Newcastle in 1983, initially playing for the youth team under Colin Suggett.

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.[2] When he was ten, Gascoigne witnessed the death of Steven Spraggon, the younger brother of a friend, who was knocked down by a car.[3] Around this time, his father began to suffer from seizures.[3] 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.[4]

Gascoigne developed an addiction to gaming machines, frequently spending all his money on them, and also began shoplifting to fund his addiction.[5] Death made another appearance in his life when a friend, whom he had encouraged to join Newcastle United from Middlesbrough, died whilst he was working for Gascoigne's uncle on the building sites.[6] At the age of 15, 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.[7]

Club career[edit]

Newcastle United[edit]

Gascoigne captained Newcastle United's youth team in the 1984–85 season. He led the team to the FA Youth Cup, having scored twice in the second leg of the final against Watford. However manager Jack Charlton threatened to kick Gascoigne out of the club within two weeks if he did not lose weight. After shedding the excess weight, Gascoigne was picked as a substitute for the Tyne–Wear derby with Sunderland, although he did not make it onto the pitch. He made his first team debut at St James' Park against Queens Park Rangers on 13 April 1985, coming on as a substitute. Soon after he signed his first professional contract, and made a further appearance for the first team. Willie McFaul took over as manager soon after, and awarded Gascoigne his first start on the opening day of the 1985–86 season at Southampton. He scored his first goal at home to Oxford United in a 3–0 victory on 21 September 1985, and claimed a further eight in the 1985–86 campaign. 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.[8]

After getting into a hit and run incident with his drinking mate, Jimmy 'Five Bellies' Gardner, he claimed his car had been stolen before admitting their crime; Gascoigne was fined £260 and given eight points on his 'non-existent licence'. He was told by Mr McKeag, one of the Newcastle directors, that this would be his last warning. His rise through the Newcastle youth team was not a happy one as he felt constantly picked on about his weight and his misbehaviour. After one instance where he felt particularly picked on, he took a groundsman's tractor and drove it straight into the dressing room wall, jumping off just before impact – he was fined £75 for this. Though confident in his ability, Gascoigne confessed to envy of Ian Bogie, who he felt was a superior player to him.[9]

Gascoigne also had doubts as to the direction the club was going, especially when they sold Chris Waddle, something he felt was a bad sign. In all competitions he made a total of 107 appearances for Newcastle, scoring 25 goals. He was named as the PFA Young Player of the Year and listed on the PFA Team of the Year at the end of the 1987–88 season, and was subject of offers from both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. His first choice was Liverpool but with no offer forthcoming, Gascoigne promised Alex Ferguson that he would sign for Manchester United. Ferguson duly went on holiday to Malta, where he received the news that Gascoigne had signed for Spurs, for a British record fee of £2million. In his 1999 autobiography, Ferguson claimed that Gascoigne was wooed into signing for Tottenham after they bought a house for his impoverished family.[10]

Tottenham Hotspur[edit]

Under Terry Venables, Gascoigne developed into an international class footballer. He had a stocky, powerful build that allowed him to hold off defenders and weather challenges. He combined his attacking flair with hustle and tenacity, but sometimes reckless tackling. In his first season at White Hart Lane he helped Spurs to sixth in the First Division, and to third position the following season. Over these two seasons he made a total of 75 appearances in all competitions, scoring 14 goals. He was named as BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1990, and was also named as Tottenham Hotspur's Player of the Year.

In the 1990–91 season, Tottenham reached the FA Cup Final, with Gascoigne winning a place on the PFA Team of the Year after scoring six goals on the road to the final, including a spectacular free-kick against Arsenal in the semi-final at Wembley. Going into the final against Nottingham Forest he had already agreed terms to join Italian club Lazio in an £8.5 million deal. However just 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. England team mate 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.[11] Tottenham went on to win the Cup in extra-time. He missed the entire 1991–92 season while he recovered, suffering a further knee injury in late 1991, when an accident at a nightclub on Tyneside ruled him out for even longer.[12]

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.[13]


Gascoigne eventually joined Lazio for a fee of £5.5 million, making his debut on 27 September 1992 in a match against Genoa which was televised in Britain as well as Italy. His form was inconsistent in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico, but he scored his first goal in the 89th minute to equalise during the Rome derby against A.S. Roma. He failed to fully settle in Italy and was beset by media interest and injury. He broke his cheekbone in April 1993 and his leg a year later; the latter injury kept him out for the majority of the 1994–95 season. In all competitions he made 47 appearances for Lazio, scoring six goals.

During his time in Italy, he was interviewed by a Norwegian TV reporter, prior to England playing them, for a message to the people of Norway. His infamous reply was "Fuck off, Norway".[14]


Gascoigne signed for Rangers in July 1995, for a reported fee of £4.3 million. He made an immediate impact; in the fifth league game of the season in the Old Firm match at Celtic Park he scored a memorable goal after running almost the length of the pitch. On 30 December 1995, 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. Rangers went on to win the league, clinching the title in the penultimate game of the season against Aberdeen; Gascoigne scored a hat-trick during the game. Rangers subsequently won the Scottish Cup, and Gascoigne picked up both the SFWA Footballer of the Year and SPFA Players' Player of the Year awards. Rangers won the league title again in 1996–97, their ninth in succession. They also won the League Cup, where Gascoigne scored twice in the Final in a 4–3 victory over Heart of Midlothian at Celtic Park.

In January 1998, Gascoigne again courted controversy after he played a mock flute (symbolic of the flute-playing of Orange Order marchers) during an Old Firm match at Celtic Park. The gesture infuriated Celtic fans who had been taunting him and Gascoigne was fined £20,000 by Rangers after the incident.[15]

In 2006 Gascoigne was inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame, alongside former teammate Brian Laudrup, at a ceremony in the Glasgow Hilton.[16]

Later career[edit]

After initial speculation linking him with a move to Crystal Palace,[17] he left Scotland to join Middlesbrough for £3.4 million in March 1998. His first match was the 1998 Football League Cup Final against Chelsea, in which he came on as a substitute. He played seven games in the First Division, helping "Boro" into the Premier League as runners-up to Nottingham Forest. Personal problems, suspension and injuries limited his subsequent appearances, with Gascoigne breaking his arm after elbowing opposition midfield player George Boateng in the head during Middlesbrough's 0-4 home defeat to Aston Villa,[18] subsequently receiving a 3 match ban and £5,000 fine from the Football Association.[19] Gascoigne then joined Everton (managed by former Rangers boss Walter Smith) on 17 July 2000 on a free transfer having been allowed to leave by Middlesbrough.[20] After spending time at an alcohol rehabilitation clinic in Arizona,[21] Gascoigne finished the 2001–02 season with Burnley, who narrowly missed out on the First Division play-offs.

In mid-2002, with his career coming to an end, Gascoigne went on trial with American club D.C. United, but failed to win a contract. In January 2003, he signed a nine-month contract with Chinese club Gansu Tianma in both a playing and coaching role, but after going to America for treatment against drink and depression in April, he failed to return. The eruption of the SARS virus in China halted any thoughts of returning. Instead, he returned to England and later trained for six weeks with Wolverhampton Wanderers, but was not offered a contract for the 2003–04 campaign.

In July 2004, Gascoigne was signed as player-coach by League Two side Boston United, and made five appearances in a three months spell.[22]

International career[edit]

Gascoigne was first called up to the full England squad by Bobby Robson for a friendly against Denmark, in September 1988. He scored his first goal for England in a World Cup Qualifier against Albania. The following match saw him make his first start and he played in most matches in the run in to the 1990 FIFA World Cup with England finishing second in their group. He secured his place in the World Cup squad in a 4–2 win against Czechoslovakia when he scored one goal and had a hand in the other three.

He played in all three of the group games in the 1990 World Cup in Italy, and England topped their group, Gascoigne providing the assist for Mark Wright's winner against Egypt. 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. 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 found Gary Lineker with a through-ball from which Lineker won, and subsequently scored a penalty, which proved to be the winning goal.

On 4 July 1990, England played West Germany in the World Cup semi-final 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,[1] 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.[23] The match culminated in a penalty shoot-out, which the Germans won after Chris Waddle missed his penalty. Gascoigne was named in the tournament All-Star team for his performances and returned to England to a frenzy that became known as "Gazzamania". His fearless, talismanic performances at the Finals were appreciated by the team. Speaking in 2010, Waddle said that "the great thing about Gazza is that he didn't respect who he was playing against. He didn't even know who he was playing against. When I mentioned Rijkaard he thought it was a country."[24]

Injury limited his involvement for the national team during Graham Taylor's tenure as manager. However he became a key part of Terry Venables' team in the run-in to UEFA Euro 1996. In the second game of the tournament, against Scotland, he scored a memorable goal. Gascoigne received the ball from Darren Anderton outside the Scotland penalty area, moved as if to play the ball down the outside, but 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. The goal was followed by the "Dentist's chair" celebration referring to an incident before the Euro 1996, where England team players were photographed on a drunken night with Gascoigne, Teddy Sheringham and Steve McManaman shown drinking in a dentist's chair while on tour in Hong Kong.[25] After the goal Gascoigne lay on the ground as if he were sitting in the dentist's chair, and teammates sprayed water from bottles into his open mouth.[26]

In the third group game against the Netherlands Gascoigne contributed to a 4–1 victory, providing the corner which led to the second goal and crafting the third goal with a mazy run into the Dutch penalty area. After beating Spain on penalties, England met Germany in the semi-final. Early on Gascoigne's corner again led to an England goal, and extra time was again required; a late dash into the six-yard box left Gascoigne within millimetres of scoring the golden goal which would have put England through to the final. However, England lost to Germany in the resulting penalty shoot-out and, once again, Gascoigne shed tears.

Under Glenn Hoddle, Gascoigne was picked regularly over the next year and a half helping England qualify for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, but with injury and disciplinary problems affecting his game, he was left out of the final squad by Hoddle. British tabloid newspapers showed pictures of a drunken Gascoigne eating kebabs in the early hours of the morning only a week before the final squad was due to be chosen.[27] On being told he was out of the squad, Gascoigne wrecked Hoddle's room in a rage before being restrained. Gascoigne was never to play for his country again, having won 57 caps and scored 10 goals.

Managerial and coaching career[edit]

Having already gained some coaching experience in China, he 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![28]) 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,[29] 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.[30] 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.[31] Previous manager Kevin Wilson was moved upstairs to become director of football, and Paul Davis was appointed as the club's assistant manager.[32] Bookmakers put odds on Gascoigne getting the sack before Christmas, though he insisted that he was at Rockingham Road "for the long haul".[32] Attempts to get new sponsors on board were successful, though results on the pitch soon went against the "Poppies".[33] His tenure at Kettering lasted just 39 days, and he was dismissed by the club's board on 5 December. The club's owner blamed Gascoigne's alcohol problems, stating that he drank almost every day he worked.[34] Gascoigne later claimed that the owner had interfered incessantly and harboured ambitions of being a manager himself, despite knowing little about football.[35] He explained that him appearing drunk in an interview with Sky News was due to his poor mental state, tiredness and prescribed medication.[36] 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.[37]

Gascoigne came close to being appointed manager of Garforth Town in 2010.[38] Gascoigne was never seen at a Garforth Town match,[39] 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.[40]

Other projects[edit]

Gascoigne playing for England during Soccer Aid.

At the height of "Gazzamania", he reached number 2 in the UK Top 40 with "Fog on the Tyne", a collaborative cover with Lindisfarne. He promoted two video games: Gazza's Superstar Soccer and Gazza II, and also featured in an advertising campaign to promote the Fabergé brand Brut. He worked as a pundit on ITV's World Cup team in 2002.

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.[41]

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.[42] The next day he played in an England v Germany charity football match to help raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson cancer fund.[43]

Personal life[edit]

Gascoigne married his long-term girlfriend Sheryl (née Failes[44]) in Ware, Hertfordshire, in July 1996, after they had been together for around six years.[45] They divorced in early 1999.[46] Gascoigne had a son, Regan, with Sheryl and also adopted Sheryl's two children from her first marriage, Mason and Bianca. Step-daughter Bianca Gascoigne appeared on reality TV show Love Island.[47][48] His seven-year-old nephew Cameron Gascoigne signed a contract with Newcastle United after he scored 22 goals in 30 minutes for Rutherford Swifts FC in the Gateshead Youth League.[citation needed]

In November 2008 Gascoigne, who had not filed any tax returns for more than two years, was faced with a bankruptcy petition over a £200,000 tax bill.[49] On 25 May 2011 he avoided being declared bankrupt by the High Court in London.[50]

Struggles with alcoholism, drug addiction and mental illnesses[edit]

In 1998 he first entered sustained therapy sessions 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.[51] He was released, at his own insistence, two weeks into the suggested minimum stay of 28 days.[52] His subsequent visits to the Priory became more infrequent, and he eventually lapsed back to alcohol drinking.[53] 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.[54] 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.[54][55] He had a stay at the clinic in Cottonwood, Arizona, in 2003 after he suffered low points working in China, and again in 2004 after retiring from football.[56]

2004 saw the publication of his autobiography Gazza: My Story, written with Hunter Davies. In this book, and in Being Gazza: Tackling My Demons published in 2006, he refers to treatment for bulimia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, and alcoholism.[57] The books also describes his addictive personality, which has led him to develop addictions, of varying severity, on alcohol, chain smoking, gambling, high-caffeine energy drinks, exercise, and junk food.[58]

In February 2008 he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act after a possible suicide attempt at the Malmaison Hotel in Newcastle upon Tyne. He was taken into protective custody to prevent self-harm.[59]

On 9 July 2010 Gascoigne appeared at the scene of the tense stand-off between the police and Raoul Moat, claiming to be a friend of Raoul Moat and stating that he had brought him "a can of lager, some chicken, fishing rod, a Newcastle shirt and a dressing gown". He was denied access to Moat.[60] In August 2011 Gascoigne sued The Sun, claiming that its coverage of him during the Raoul Moat incident interrupted his treatment for alcoholism.[61]

On 20 October 2010 he admitted being more than four times over the limit at Newcastle upon Tyne Magistrates Court,[62] He should have appeared in court to be sentenced for the drunk driving, but instead he went into rehab on the south coast of England.[63] Gascoigne was given an eight-week suspended sentence.[64]

In 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."[65] 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 Chris Evans.[66]

In January 2014 Gascoigne was treated for alcohol addiction at a £6,000-a-month clinic in Southampton.[67]

Career statistics[edit]

Club performanceLeagueCupLeague CupContinentalTotal
EnglandLeagueFA CupLeague CupEuropeTotal
1984–85Newcastle UnitedFirst Division2020
1988–89Tottenham HotspurFirst Division32651377
ItalyLeagueCoppa ItaliaLeague CupEuropeTotal
1992–93LazioSerie A22440264
ScotlandLeagueScottish CupLeague CupEuropeTotal
1995–96RangersPremier Division28144331714219
EnglandLeagueFA CupLeague CupEuropeTotal
1997–98MiddlesbroughFirst Division701080
1998–99Premier League2631020293
2000–01EvertonPremier League14010150
China PRLeagueFA CupCSL CupAsiaTotal
2003Gansu TianmaChina League One4242
EnglandLeagueFA CupLeague CupEuropeTotal
2004–05Boston UnitedLeague Two401050
China PR4242
Career total3888328123713152468110
England national team


Newcastle United

Tottenham Hotspur





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  4. ^ Gascoigne 2006, p. 18
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  25. ^ url=""
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  • Gascoigne, Paul; Davies, Hunter (2004). Gazza: My Story. London: Headline Publishing. ISBN 0-7472-7118-6. 
  • Gascoigne, Paul; McKeown, John; Davies, Hunter (2006). Being Gazza: Tackling My Demons. London: Headline Publishing. ISBN 0-7553-1542-1. 

External links[edit]