Portsmouth - Sadness for the idol that is Gazza
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Sadness for the idol that is Gazza

Yep, I know Paul Gascoigne has no connection with Pompey other than the fact we crossed paths with him a couple of times with him being a Spurs player in the early 90s and he was 'linked' with a move to us a couple of times in the 90s but I find the way his life has gone since his footballing career ended devastating...

I did not really get into football fully until the late 80s, and although as a 6 or 7 year old I did see parts on the 86 world cup, the world cup Italia 90 was my first crystal clear memory of a major international tournament and although Euro 2006 was absolutely fantastic this still just eclipses that as my 'proudest moment' as an England supporter.

Gazza was my idol as I grew up - in all honesty I still have a small poster from Italia 90 on my bedroom door! - what a world class footballer he was and some of these 'so called' world class performers these days are not and never will be a patch on him, in terms of skill and ability there are very few, if any Englishman that have been better or ever will be.

1990 was his world cup, who will ever forget the look on his face when he got booked against Germany, and old big ears Gary Lineker looking over to the bench for guidance on how he should be watched - yet he still gave his all to try and get us into the final, sadly it was not to be. Then of course their were the tears...

Fast forward to Euro 2006, the years in between were basically ruined in the main by injuries - which probably prevented him from going down as one of the real, and I mean right at the top of the tree greatest footballers ever to play the game - but he was absolutely outstanding and again his and England's performances deserved more than the semi final exit we again got, his goal against Scotland - what can you say!

When the 98 world cup came round I remember I was on my way to college - for one of my numerous courses that in all honesty I had not really made the most of! - when I was made aware of the fact that Gazza had been axed by Glenn Hoddle, I could not believe it and I still maintain to this day that as poor as that squad was at that tournament, granted there were a lot of good players, just his mere presence would have made a lot of difference and we would not have crashed out in the 2nd round as we did.

This is when things virtually hit rock bottom and have gone from bad to worse since, ending in what has happened this week.

At that time the local paper The Evening Herald had a 'was it right to leave him out' feature so I wrote a letter, which was one of only 2 to be published, I was chuffed and still have this now. I argued for him being selected, another argued against.

Gazza's life has taken a downward spiral over the years, but since his footballing career finished - something that he just could not let go - this has been even worse, and he has now been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, which has left me saddened beyond belief...

Granted Gazza is no angel, he has done plenty of bad things over the years, and things that cannot be brushed aside but I do feel that many of these things are down to the 'hangers on' that he just will not or cannot for whatever reason shift, these are meant to be his friends so why are they not helping him like friends?

Clearly the fella misses the game, he misses it more than most could imagine. Some people can move on when their career ends, he cannot. There are arguments that 'he needs to be given a job within football', whilst this cannot be given out of 'pity' for all of his off the field problems one of the greatest talents this country has ever produced would surely have something to offer a club somewhere, or kids that are coming through? Some involvement in the game would surely also help sort out his problems with drink and so on?

As I say, I know the connections for Gazza and Pompey are only thread bare through meetings with Spurs, Terry Venables and his connections with us, which also brought about links with Pompey both under him and in later years but I just felt I had to share my thoughts on the fallen star, who I grew up idolising.

Some 'will argue it is his own fault', to a very limited degree I could understand this but I really hope that he can get better and can get his life back on track, as like I say although he has done some bad things in his life his genius deserves more than he has got and his run of misfortune has surely gone on long enough...


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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday February 22 2008

Time: 10:19AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Great article. The guy was a genius, an absoloute genius. Hoddle has a lot to answer for. Remember his 2 goals at pompey in 1990 and how he single handedly got us to the cup final that year. loved the guy. Get well soon Gazza
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22/02/2008 10:44:00

Nice one PR, a football great!!!
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22/02/2008 12:20:00

Nice touch Rug, all the reports give the impression of a massive drunken binge. Being sectioned is something else.
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22/02/2008 12:41:00

Perhaps he will be luckier than Georgie Best, and not waste his liver, nevermind 2. Whilst I applaud his once footballing ability he will probably be remembered most, globally as a 'prat'.
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22/02/2008 12:52:00

Nice one Rug - I was thinking about writing something but you beat me to it. Two memories one mentioned by spursbhoy, the other at Paul Walsh's testimonial of Gazza standing in the centre circle drinking a pint of Guinness!!
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22/02/2008 14:40:00

when gazza was playing for everton they played a pre season game against plymouth - west ham turned up as well with both games within a couple of games of each other so i went to both - gazza was carrying some weight at that point and was got grief from the plymouth fans but he showed that he still had it as he scored one of the most fantastic goals i have ever seen, his reaction was to acknowlegde the fat boy chants by rubbing his belly and laughing, he might have even pulled his shirt over his head? this reaction was meet with a great reaction from the plymouth fans who all applauded him, and not only for a stunning goal...
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22/02/2008 15:01:00

A lesson to the players of today. The evil of excess. We wish Gazza well.
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22/02/2008 17:37:00

wish him well. i remember watching him play - scorred a great goal for boro against villa...i think... either way, he was by far the best player on the pitch...
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22/02/2008 17:52:00

Two memories of Gazza. The first was when he played for Newcastle at Fratton Park in the one season we had in the top-flight under Ballie. For me, the skill Gazza displayed in that game made him easily the outstanding player to visit Fratton Park in that season. The second was in the FA Cup. My memories are a bit hazy but I think Mark Chamberlain gave us the lead, only for Gazza to win the game for Spurs with a thumping long range header and a brilliant shot after a mazy dribble. Despite the disappointment, all you could do was applaud. Great player and I hope he gets well soon!
Pompey Half Pint
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22/02/2008 18:02:00

He was the first player I ´ve seen playing (Live) with one of those protective masks JT fancies. Respect.
Blue is the colour
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22/02/2008 23:22:00

Awesome article credit to vital pompy. Get well soon gazza although cant help thinkin hes always been a bit crackers lol Hel be back!!!
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23/02/2008 02:51:00

I think his downfall right now is not because he is a bad guy, it is because he is so in LOVE with football and now he can't do it, he does not know what to do. He still wants and desires to play football in the premier league and win stuff but he can't and he does not know how to deal with that. You could say it is a mid life crisis. He was my hero too and I think club and country gave up on him way too early, much like they are doing with Beckham now. Even to give role models like this 20 mins on the pitch, it is worth it for the lift it gives to players and fans and the boost in the dressing room. Get better soon Gazza !
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23/02/2008 08:15:00

Good heart felt article Rug and I for one hold those memories mentioned dear... BUT... as much as part of me thinks Gazza needs help and should be given as much support as the FA and his former clubs and football in general can offer the other sde of me feels that he should also have taken the support others have shown already and in some respects wake up and smell the coffee, he's had support and thrown it back at people (the Kettering Job as an example) but 'POOR OLD GAZZA can't cope or can't bear to be without football .. well so what !... He's had an opportunity and blown it because of his own insecurities and indulgences and not once has he looked at himself to see where hes going wrong..... The world is littered with 'genius's' who are a bit crackpot... Amy Winehouse, George best, Britney Spears, Michael Jackson all 'Stars' in their chosen fields... but come on how much pity are we really supposed to show... This will not be the last time we hear about Gazza being sectioned or held in custody or being in need of help and I'm affraid with me it's wearing thin..... and will wear thinner each and every time a new storey comes out my message to Gazza is probably very harsh in comparison to some others... You were great, a national hero in fact but - It's ended.. GET OVER IT !...
Report Abuse
23/02/2008 09:05:00

sad but always inevitable the way his life has been heading - loved him at Rangers - feckin legend!
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23/02/2008 15:20:00


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