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Dr Gloom

Gascoigne's tears trace the chronicle of tragedy foretold

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When the police pulled Paul Gascoigne out of the bath in which he was trying to drown himself on Sunday afternoon, he was crying. It is almost two decades since the image of Gazza's tears caught the public imagination to such a degree that it could be said to have kick-started the renaissance of English football, a phenomenon which reaches its ceremonial climax in Moscow later this month. Now his latest bout of weeping marks another stage in the terrible decline of a man who once held the status of the nation's favourite clown.

 

But that was long ago, and in any case short-lived. Gascoigne stopped being funny even before he stopped being a real footballer. If his comic turn wasn't terminated by various indiscretions into the microphones of television reporters, it ended for good and all back in 1996 with a famous Daily Mirror splash: GAZZA BEATS SHERYL BLACK AND BLUE. After that it became a tragedy.

 

It seems horribly poignant that Gascoigne's latest escapade should have begun at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington High Street, the place where, so many Saturdays earlier, Alf Ramsey and his England team gathered in celebration on the night of their World Cup triumph. That was two years before Gazza was born. Now the 40-year-old ex-footballer spent this particular Saturday afternoon first having his hair dyed red at a local salon and then, apparently displeased with the result, shaving it all off. Invited to leave the hotel that night after fire alarms were said to have been activated when he smoked in his room, he moved to the Mandarin Oriental, less than a mile away, where his demands for cocaine on room service caused a certain amount of disruption.

 

This time he took a short walk down Sloane Street to the Millennium Hotel. Behaving erratically, he checked in with a bottle of gin in his hand and was soon calling down for more. Staff were alarmed when, having ordered a steak, he rang down again to tell them to cancel the steak but to send up the steak knife. The police were called, found him trying to submerge himself in an overflowing bath, and took him to hospital.

 

There are probably people who think that Gascoigne's story should not be viewed as a tragedy, that a man who spent more than a decade earning a top footballer's salary does not deserve the sympathy implicit in such a description after indulging in so wasteful and idiotic a lifestyle. But the real tragedy of Gascoigne's decline is how obvious it all seemed, and how those who were in a position to help him took the wrong decisions at crucial moments, while those who wanted to help were powerless.

 

Imagine how the story might have gone if he had kept his promise to Alex Ferguson in the summer of 1988, shortly after he had been named the young footballer of the year. He intended to leave Newcastle United, and Ferguson was desperate to have him at Old Trafford. But by the time the Manchester United manager returned from his holiday, Gascoigne's advisers had agreed a deal with Tottenham Hotspur, and the player had signed. Those same advisers later negotiated his further transfers to Lazio and Rangers, both moves with spectacularly negative consequences for Gascoigne's mental equilibrium.

 

Would Ferguson have been able to use the right length of rein to control Gazza's headstrong urges? No one will ever know, but it's hard to avoid feeling that he might have been better equipped than Terry Venables to show him the line where pranks end and self-destruction begins. Perhaps Ferguson feels relieved that the opportunity was denied him; he certainly regrets the disappearance of the opportunity to work with a player of such gifts.

 

Is it really too late now, after so many trips in and out of rehab, for this flawed, chaotic figure to accept help and guidance from the right quarter? Can no one offer him a home, in both the concrete and the spiritual senses, where he might maintain a constructive link with the game he loves while being absolved from the deadly requirement, imposed by himself as much as by the outside world, to be Gazza? If it is true that nothing can be done, that there is no effective therapy for his madness, then one day soon the tears will be ours.

 

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/05/...ce_the_chr.html

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I'd say it was a plea for help, but anyone who doesn't know he needs help must live on the moon.

 

Where the fuck have his family been the last few years?

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The bloke's had problems for years, is still one of the most high-profile footballing characters in this country yet no-one, no-one seems willing to help him.

 

It'll be all too soon that he's in the situation George Best got to and it'll just be a matter of time before he's a thing of the past and then people will say "we should have done something...."

 

Too fucking late then though!!

 

I feel privileged that I saw him play for Newcastle United when he was at IMO, his brilliant best. He may be a clown, he may be an idiot... but he is still a human being.

 

Agree with HF - where the fuck is that family of his? And five bellies? He seemed happy to be there when Gazza was in the spotlight - don't hear much from him now though, do you?

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Very succinct but alas, very true....

 

I bet we'll hear from them after he pegs it too.

 

Arseholes

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To be fair to his friends and family I don't know the story, it was probably phrased a tad accusingly, but they might have given him chance after chance which he's spurned with his own stupidity. He's certainly been given opportunities by people in the game, only to let them down badly. I'd love him to knuckle down and maybe work with kids up here because I'm sure he still loves the game, but you can't help someone that won't help themself.

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To be fair to his friends and family I don't know the story, it was probably phrased a tad accusingly, but they might have given him chance after chance which he's spurned with his own stupidity. He's certainly been given opportunities by people in the game, only to let them down badly. I'd love him to knuckle down and maybe work with kids up here because I'm sure he still loves the game, but you can't help someone that won't help themself.

Which imho would be a brilliant idea as it looks like Gazza needs some occupation for his life not being kind of senseless. The situation is probably kind of comparable with what happened to Gerd Müller here in Germany who was close to ruining is life by alcoholism before being saved by Bayern who employed him first to work as a youth team coach and no as an assistant of the reserve team.

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Guest alex

I think it was manc-mag who said if he had a job like Terry Mac's at the Toon it would probably save his life. Gazza's that is :)

Edited by alex

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Whether right I dont know, but for some time now I have laid alot of the blame at his friends/hangers on. There to egg him on through his drink binges etc but not there to pick up the pieces of what that lead to. A very troubled bloke who really needed the people close to him to keep him straight but instead they egg him on and help to to find solace in drink. Now that seems all he knows. Genius of a footballer and thats probably the one thing no one can take from him. Sad sad indeed.

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Whether right I dont know, but for some time now I have laid alot of the blame at his friends/hangers on. There to egg him on through his drink binges etc but not there to pick up the pieces of what that lead to. A very troubled bloke who really needed the people close to him to keep him straight but instead they egg him on and help to to find solace in drink. Now that seems all he knows. Genius of a footballer and thats probably the one thing no one can take from him. Sad sad indeed.

Yup, it is.

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You could only hire him if you could trust him.

 

If he's out snorting coke with the Academy kids he could be a liability. His alcoholism led to the sack from Kettering, so a job in the game won't necessarily get his act together for him.

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I don't think anyone would trust him unfortunately. Putting aside his obvious mental health problems he's an absolute idiot.

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Sensitively put. :)

I know :crylaughin: He fucking is though. What exactly could you trust him with in terms of a job? Collecting the cones mebbies. Because I wouldn't put him anywhere near the bairns.

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Sensitively put. :)

I know :crylaughin: He fucking is though. What exactly could you trust him with in terms of a job? Collecting the cones mebbies. Because I wouldn't put him anywhere near the bairns.

They could just use him for demonstrations and say "right lads, this is how you don't want to end up!"

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You could only hire him if you could trust him.

 

If he's out snorting coke with the Academy kids he could be a liability. His alcoholism led to the sack from Kettering, so a job in the game won't necessarily get his act together for him.

Of course you can't just tell him to turn up the next day to work and everything is okay. He's seriously mentally and physically ill, so the first thing is to cure him. Getting him to live a normal life can only be the second step. Though I think the club should seriously look into taking things into its hand and show some social responsibility.

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Im fucking sick of hearing about it tbh. I wish someone would just section him and be done with it!

They did that the last time. He still seems to be all alone in the world, drifting from one hotel to another once the staff get sick of his antics.

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You could only hire him if you could trust him.

 

If he's out snorting coke with the Academy kids he could be a liability. His alcoholism led to the sack from Kettering, so a job in the game won't necessarily get his act together for him.

Of course you can't just tell him to turn up the next day to work and everything is okay. He's seriously mentally and physically ill, so the first thing is to cure him. Getting him to live a normal life can only be the second step. Though I think the club should seriously look into taking things into its hand and show some social responsibility.

 

I reckon Gazza has no interest in knuckling down, he craves attention and wants the column inches he's always had, whether good or bad. He could have knuckled down at Boston but left because they wouldn't let him do I'm a celebrity... :) a quiet steady job that keeps him out of the papers obviously doesn't cater to his ego enough.

 

That Speight bloke was suicidal, holding your head under water in the bath and ordering a steak knife without the steak on room service is just pathetic attention seeking.

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I'll get me tin hat. He deserves no extra special attention to the tramp in Northumberland street. If anyone wants to take him on as a junior coach or whatever it should be Spuds that's who he left us to go to for the lure of the money.

 

:)

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