Tyne & Wear

Triumphs and tears of Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne
Image caption "Gazzamania" was born at Italia '90

One of the country's most recognisable and celebrated footballers, Paul Gascoigne's life on and off the pitch has been an eventful one.

In 1985 a fresh-faced Gascoigne made his league debut for Newcastle United at the age of 17 as a second-half substitute against Queens Park Rangers.

Within three years, "Gazza" had won the PFA Young Player of the Year award. Shortly afterwards, in the summer of 1988, he joined Tottenham for £2.3m.

During the World Cup in 1990 he showed his vulnerable side, shedding tears of frustration after his booking in the semi-final against Germany ruled him out of a potential appearance in the final.

Despite England's subsequent defeat on penalties depriving Bobby Robson's side of a place in the World Cup Final, Gascoigne went on to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The aftermath of England's run in the 1990 World Cup saw Gascoigne reach the peak of his popularity as "Gazzamania" swept England.

Serious injury

He released a pop reworking of the Lindisfarne hit Fog on the Tyne, which reached number 2 on the UK singles chart and led to an appearance on Top of the Pops.

But the high times were not to last.

At the end of the 1991 season, in the FA Cup Final, a wild and reckless Gascoigne sustained a serious cruciate ligament injury in the early minutes of the game.

Image caption Gazza's "dentist's chair" celebration at Euro 96 is a treasured memory for many England fans

His already agreed transfer to Italian club Lazio was put on hold while he recovered and, having played some exceptional football in the 1990-91 season, he would never be the same player again.

Accompanied by his Geordie sidekick Jimmy "Fivebellies" Gardner, Gascoigne went to Italy and eventually resumed his career on the pitch.

Although he was plagued by injury, Gascoigne was a popular figure with the fans at the Rome club.

In 1995 Gascoigne returned to the UK, joining Glasgow Rangers for £4.3m, and the following year he married Sheryl, shortly after the birth of son Regan.

A year later, he was a key player in the England team which was again defeated on penalties in the semi-finals of a major tournament by the Germans - this time Euro 96 held in England.

Sectarian gesture

His "dentist's chair" celebration after scoring a magnificent goal against Scotland - itself a reference to his heavy drinking - is a treasured memory of many English football fans.

In 1998, he was given a warning by the Scottish FA after a "playing the flute" mime - a sectarian gesture - during an Old Firm game against Celtic.

Image caption The former player was fined for the assault at a railway station

Later that year his marriage ended following incidents of domestic violence and he was admitted to the Marchwood Priory hospital to receive treatment for his drink problem.

He was also left out of the 1998 World Cup squad and would never play for England again.

He spent the last six years of his football career with Middlesbrough, Everton, Burnley, and Chinese side Gansu Tianma, retiring from the game in 2004.

The same year, Gazza talked about his problems in his autobiography, including his struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder, bulimia, depression and Tourette's syndrome.

He struggled with alcoholism throughout the decade and in 2008 Gascoigne was sectioned under the Mental Health Act following reports that he was acting strangely in Hemel Hempstead.

In 2010 he admitted admitting drinking and driving and was given a suspended prison sentence after he was stopped in Newcastle.

In February 2012, it was announced he was one of those who had settled claims for damages with the publishers of the News of the World over phone-hacking.

He has received treatment on a number of occasions with the most recent in February when he was admitted to a clinic in the US with his management company saying he was an alcoholic with "complex issues".

It followed an appearance at a charity event when he sparked concern by breaking down and sobbing on stage.

A number of his celebrity friends helped to fund the trip to the Arizona clinic including former England cricketer Ronnie Irani, presenter Chris Evans and ex-Tottenham and England team-mate Gary Lineker.

On Monday, Gascoigne was fined £1,000 for assaulting a railway guard and being drunk and disorderly at Stevenage railway station in July.

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