Name: Paul John GASCOIGNE
Born: May 27th 1967, Gateshead, England
Height: 1,75 m 5ft 9in
Position: Central Midfielder
Unpredictable moves, he could go all the way in a strong dribble run or move off the ball to finish with a header, so his biggest asset was probably the surprise effect due to his genuine and unique personality.
1990 – World Cup 4th place (England)
1996 – European Championship 3rd place (England)
1991 – FA Cup Winners (Tottenham Hotspur)
1995 and 1996 – Scotland League Winner (Glasgow Rangers)
He started to be noticed very young playing with Newcastle youth ranks and was signed by Tottenham in 1988, where he would produce his greatest performances and reach a major status as one of the top midfielders of the world. Bobby Robson understood that and picked him to 1990 World Cup England National Team. He was a key player to the 4th place performance by the team and the world started to know his name. Then a “Gazzamania” was born in England, he was an idol to the supporters.
He stayed one more season with Spurs, despite interest from Italian big teams to sign him and the 1990/91 was his best season ever, winning the FA Cup, with brilliant goals along the way to the final. But at Wembley, in the final he was unlucky, has after doing a foul he did a severe injury to his knee and despite winning the cup, the party was off. With a contract signed with Lazio Rome, he had to stay out for one whole season, doing a comeback already in Italy. His Italy three seasons were not good, as his best moments were just a goal against AS Roma, in the capital derby and an amazing goal with a slalom run against Pescara. In 1994, he broke his leg and it was another blow to his career. After recovering he decided to leave Italy and signed for Rangers in time to do a great comeback.
With Euro 96 to be played at England home soil, he helped Rangers to win the league on 1995/96 and he was back in a good shape. High hopes for England team at the European Championships and Gazza was a pivotal player, playing in a central midfield role. Against Scotland he scored a sensational goal and he was back to the great moments. He was inches away in the semis of scoring a golden goal to put England thru to the final but failed to touch the ball inside and England lost in the penalties shootout just like in 1990. Another title with Rangers in 1996/97 and a return to England to Middlesboro in 1998 where he was not so successful and his career started to decline.
When I do a retrospective of Gazza´s career I feel he had the talent to be more successful but injuries in key moments ruined his hopes. Little silverware for such an immense player is another conclusion. Euro 96 crown would be so deserved to him but he didn´t even reach a England league title and no European club competition glory also. It´s an emptiness feeling to think about his career result when the man could fill so well a team midfield and the heart of a football lover.
I first notice Gascoigne when I was collecting the Italy 1990 world cup, but I wouldn´t imagine that 1 month later he would be one the tournament stars. I clearly remember seeing Lineker reaction when Gazza cried after the yellow card against West Germany in the semis. Then after the cup, a computer games fever with his name started and I remember having at least two Spectrum games in his honor. The 1991 FA Cup is another memory I have from him, the horrendous injury in the final, when he tried to play even in such pain. Not many memories from him at Lazio, but surely I was one of the spectator happy when I saw the goal in Wembley against Scotland! I supported England in the semis as I was a big fan of Shearer, and when he crossed the ball to the goal and Gascoigne missed by few inches, I remember shouting and being sad, worsened after Southgate penalty miss. Then, my last memory from him was seeing a qualification match to France 1998 with Gazza playing well with discipline against Italy but he was not included in the final squad for the tournament and his international career ended probably there.
I like to help create team spirit in the dressing room. I feel that I’ve got loads of love to give.
I’ll tell you the truth: I had a double brandy before the game but, before, it used to be four bottles of whisky. Not anymore. I was fine. I had a glass of wine after the game. But it was a mouthful.
I never refused an autograph, never refused to buy someone a drink. Now I’m learning to say I’ve got other things on, instead of doing it and wondering why.