While Paul Gascoigne once had the world at his feet as a professional footballer, his antics off the pitch left him in a state of loneliness. The 56-year-old Dunston lad is to this day considered to be one of the most talented players of his generation, capturing the hearts of fans around the world at Italia 90 though charisma and emphatic performances.
And his famous tears when booked in the semi-final against West Germany – meaning he would have missed the final should the team have made it there – went down in the history books. Gazza would have an illustrious career with Newcastle, Tottenham and Rangers, while relishing a pivotal role for his country at Euro 96.
But his time on the world stage ended prematurely, dropped from the 1998 World Cup squad which prompted an alcohol-fuelled reaction at the Lions’ training camp in La Manga. And after hanging up his boots, Gascoigne’s battles with addiction have become incredibly harrowing.
The Mirror reports that in raw scenes filmed for friend Vinnie Jones’ brand-new TV series, Vinnie Jones In The Country, Gazza opens up on his feelings of isolation while fighting his demons. He tells Jones: “Thing is, once I start, that’s it,” while discussing his issues with Alcohol, adding: “I cannot stop, it’s a nightmare.
“It wasn’t so much the drink, it was the consequences, Vinnie. God, f****** hell, the consequences. The thing is, when you’re in it, you’re in it. Do you know what I mean? A nightmare. And then you become a loner, no one wants to speak to you.”
Gascoigne first put himself through therapy back in October 1998, when he was admitted to Priory Hospital. He briefly saw a successful period of sobriety, but has since relapsed on numerous occasions. Back in 2017, representatives confirmed that he had once again went to rehab to curb his drinking, while a host of former teammates and friends, including Gary Lineker, voiced their concerns over his welfare.
The new documentary hosted by notorious hard-man Jones can be streamed on Discovery+, with the footballer joined by numerous celebrities to converse about their careers.
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