Tyne & Wear

Paul Gascoigne: Gazza's years of trials and tribulations

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

Paul Gascoigne has been cleared of sexually assaulting a woman he kissed on a train. The 52-year-old former footballer told jurors he had only been comforting her because she had been called "fat and ugly" by another passenger.

It is the latest in a string of court cases and health scares that have overshadowed the success he gained with clubs at home, in Europe and, perhaps most memorably, with England.

In 1985, a 17-year-old Gascoigne made his league debut for his beloved Newcastle United 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.

Paul Gascoigne cleared of sex assault on train

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

Despite England's subsequent defeat on penalties, Gascoigne went on to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The aftermath of England's run in the 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 two on the UK singles chart and led to an appearance on Top of the Pops.

But the high times were not to last.

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

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.

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 "Five Bellies" 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, 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 defeated on penalties in the semi-finals of Euro 96 at Wembley by the now reunified Germany.

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.

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.

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Image caption In 2016, Gascoigne admitted racially aggravated abuse

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 drinking and driving after he was stopped in Newcastle and was given a suspended prison sentence.

It was also 2010 that saw perhaps Gascoigne's most bizarre act - when he turned up at Rothbury in Northumberland in an attempt to broker peace between armed police and the gunman Raoul Moat, who had been on the run after shooting his ex-girlfriend, her new partner - who was killed - and a police officer.

Gascoigne appeared at the police cordon, saying he was good friends with "Moaty" and that he'd brought the fugitive a "can of lager, some chicken, a mobile phone and something to keep warm".

The BBC's Fiona Trott, who was at the scene, reported he then posed for some pictures with children before driving off.

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Image caption Danny Baker and Chris Evans joined Gascoigne, at the Television and Radio Industries Club Awards ceremony, on the night it was revealed he had been left out of England's squad for the World Cup finals in France

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 including in February 2013, when he was admitted to a clinic in the US and his management company said 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 the presenter Chris Evans and Match of the Day anchor Gary Lineker, an ex-Tottenham and England team-mate.

In August 2013, Gascoigne was fined £1,000 for assaulting a railway guard and being drunk and disorderly at Stevenage railway station.

In early 2015 Gascoigne revealed he had been diagnosed as an alcoholic at the age of 33. He said he "knew something was wrong" during his playing days and spoke of his relief at finally being diagnosed.

"When it was explained, and when I heard other people's stories, I was like 'thank God'," he said.

Later that year he admitted harassing his ex-girlfriend Amanda Thomas and was fined and made the subject of a restraining order.

Bournemouth Magistrates' Court heard the then 48-year-old old sent abusive tweets and texts to her. He also admitted assaulting a photographer.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Paul Gascoigne appeared at Teesside Magistrates' Court in October 2019 charged with sexual assault

In June the following year he has back in court, this time to plead guilty to racially aggravated abuse over a joke at a show.

Gascoigne was said to have "humiliated" a black security guard assigned to protect him during an event in Wolverhampton and was fined £1,000.

In January 2017 Gascoigne was again seeking help in rehab after suffering an "annus horribilis" following the death of one of his nephews, 22-year-old Jay Kerrigan-Gascoigne.

The following year, Gascoigne's place in the Scottish Football Hall of Fame was withdrawn amid "concerns" over his health. He later said his place in the Rangers Hall of Fame was the "only one" that mattered.

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