JIMMY 'FIVE BELLIES'
'Five Bellies' Gardner is Gazza's top mate
Jimmy Gardner is a
Gateshead lad who shot to fame through his friendship with Paul Gascoigne.
The man and his media image are two different people.
In a telling piece, football writer Phil McNulty cast
Paul Gascoigne in the role of 'Around The World In 80 Days' adventurer
He went on to say that casting Gazza's long time drinking pal Jimmy 'Five
Bellies' Gardner in the role of trusted companion Passepartout, was one
leap of the imagination too far!
The world watched, fascinated, as Gazza and his ally
attempted to revive a once glittering football career by travelling around
But what of the man Jimmy 'Five Bellies' Gardner. Who
is he? What is his story?
Media image unfair?
The press says he is the hard drinking fella who led his best mate Paul
Those who know Jimmy say he's a gentle, likeable man.
A man who has given up drinking.
He looks imposing, a big bloke, a lad's lad who has not
enjoyed the best of relationships with the media.
Jimmy and Paul Gascoigne were childhood friends. He has
been Gazza's constant companion for years.
Jimmy doesn't have an official role with Paul, they are
best mates. So he travels with Gazza who foots the bill for all expenses.
The stories about Jimmy and Paul are legion.
up Jimmy 'Five Bellies' with a 'girl' he knew to be a transvestite.
Conned Jimmy into eating a mince pie after he'd scraped out the
filling and replaced it with cat excrement.
Handed £1000 over to Jimmy after betting that he couldn't
withstand a cigarette lighter's heat on the bridge of his nose for
Bought a £1000 robot and programmed it to travel into Jimmy's
room at Gazza Towers and announce: "Make a cup of tea, fat
Jimmy was asked to leave West Lodge Park Hotel, in London, after
guests were treated to the sight of him swimming naked across the
Like the time he burned Jimmy's nose for a thousand pound bet.
Jimmy refutes that story and countered;
"I was asleep in a bar at Hexham. Paul couldn't wake me up.
"So he put the lighter on my nose and that woke
The tales go on and on with Jimmy denying that he encourages
Gazza into performing these pranks.
"People say that I got him into trouble with the drink but, if anything,
it's the opposite.
"You can't tell Paul what to do, he will do it if
he wants to."
Jimmy is off the beer, he has not been drinking. Just water, for nine
weeks. He has just had a couple of glasses of wine.
In the past he would go out and drink 15 pints or more.
Those days are over
Jimmy is well built and weighs 15st 2lbs, at his highest
weight he was 19st.
In 1999 Jimmy served four weeks in prison for threatening
some teenagers with an unloaded air pistol.
"I'm Jimmy five bellies. The hard man. The minder. The big drinker, every
day and night!
"That is not me. I'm a loving guy. I love everybody.
I don't want to hurt anybody and I want to be myself."
That prison sentence seems to have been the turning point,
it upset his family. Especially his Mum.
sentence really hurt Jimmy
"Yes, it upset her. I was locked up for fighting.
"I've grown out of that. I realised that three years
ago. I don't want to put my family and kids through that again.
"My son Liam broke his heart and was getting stick
at school. It hurt my family."
Jimmy is trying to relaunch himself. He claims that he
has some TV work on the horizon.
"If nothing happens in TV then I'd go back to fixing cars.
"I've had my time, I've had a good life.
"I've been around the world, thanks to my mate Paul.
" If it hadn't been for him I wouldn't have been there."