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 Post subject: Gazza back in management
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:12 am 
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GAZZA'S BACK IN THE GAME

Former England star reveals all about his new job


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GASCOIGNE: With Clifford signing on

By Martin Hardy, NewsOfTheWorld



THE radio presenter's voice was shaking. 'We've got Gazza? Put him on.'

And so from there, on a storm-ridden July night, the world was given its latest update on the health of Paul Gascoigne.

It did not look good.

Gascoigne was going to see Raoul Moat, with a blanket and a chicken.

Part of you laughed. Part of you cried.

The greatest player of the last 30 years deserved better.

Simon Clifford, the man who brought Brazilian Soccer Schools to England, shed a tear and made a vow.

To give Gascoigne another chance.

He drove to Dunston without an address.

He found Gascoigne's sister after tipping a car cleaner five quid.

And from there the seeds were sewn for the latest chapter.

Gascoigne had television work lined up.

He was due to go on a remote island with Vinnie Jones where the pair were set to live off the land.

"I said to Vin it could be like Brokeback Mountain," he laughs. "He said he would rip me bits off if I tried it!"

But the allure of football struck every single one of his battered heart strings.

Clifford, in his role as owner of non-league Garforth Town, has offered Gascoigne the chance to be his first-team manager.

All plans were dropped.

"I broke the speed limit about 10 times just to get home to my dad so I could tell him I might have another job in football," recalls Gascoigne.

How not to empathise on some level with that sort of raw emotion, the desire to make your old man proud. Still.

Fast forward a week and I am sat with Gascoigne outside a fashionable eatery in Jesmond, a leafy Tyneside suburb.

He remains iconic.

Traffic slows, workmen hang out of vans, heads turn, everyone waves.

Every wave is returned.

Gascoigne, now 43, smiles as he lights another cigarette.

Another tumultuous period of his life has just closed.

Prior to the infamous radio call he had been involved in a car crash that nearly killed him. Perhaps unsurprisingly he entered rehab.

"It was a bad time for me," he adds. "I'd been sober for six months, then I went to watch an England game and 15 minutes later I'm in a car crash.

"The girl was driving and the car went out of control and hit a wall. All I can remember is the car hitting the wall.

"They said I had died in the ambulance. I am lucky to be alive.

"The first thing I knew I was waking up in a hospital bed the next day.

"That was a shock. I asked my dad if I looked alright and he took a photo of me on his mobile. He showed it to me and I was stunned. I had black eyes and a broken nose.

"I kept on getting flash backs of hitting the wall and that wasn't good so I went to rehabilitation and most of it was to talk about the crash.

"It was down in Bournemouth at a really nice place. You live in houses with a group of friends and you went in every morning to talk about your problems.

"It was all about getting emotions out. I've already talked about things that happened in my life when I was younger.

"This was a case of the crash and getting a couple of things polished up. I went there before things went bad or serious with myself.

"I recognise the signs and I have to try and not make the same mistakes. I nipped it in the bud quickly.

"The Moat thing? I was not well at the time, you can tell that by the interview.

"I did see someone who wasn't well and I wanted to fix it. I have some blips where I don't think.

"But I'm feeling good in myself at the minute. A lot of exciting things have come up lately."

Gascoigne's life swings quicker than his bipolarity. He took bread to a siege. After he had his nose fixed in hospital, his dad's puppy bit it. He recalls a story from his Lazio days where Dino Zoff ordered him down to a team dinner in a posh hotel, unaware he was in the shower.

At the second instruction, Gascoigne walked through a five star lobby without a stitch of clothes on, dripping wet and promptly sat next to his manager and ate spaghetti Bolognese.

GASCOIGNE: Managing again
GASCOIGNE: Managing again

You are encouraged to smile, largely because the man himself is still doing that, his life has been a tragicomedy for so long and he knows it.

Today, sat in a suit, Gascoigne is lean. Cappuccinos slip down his neck and he munches away on a bowl of salad.

He still has restless, nervous energy fizzing through his body, but he insists management could give him the focus he desperately craves. His excitement at his potential new position has cost him sleep.

His last managerial post was with Kettering - where he lost twice in nine games - and he is not scarred from the acrimonious ending.

"It went really well there. The chairman tried to blame it on the drink but it was totally untrue. He stopped me coaching and he wanted to become manager."

Still, Gascoigne owes much to Clifford for offering him a route back into a game that had largely turned its back on him.

"Everyone says they love Paul but nobody does anything about it," said Clifford.

"This is not a publicity stunt. When we signed Socrates and Careca, that was.

"I want Paul to be an inspiration to someone who might have depression or problems in their lives.

"He's walked through hell but he has kept on walking.

"People look at the issues in his life.

"Because Paul had difficulties with bipolar disorder or alcohol doesn't mean he doesn't have something to offer the world.

"Everyone will get a lift from him. I wanted a bit of fairy dust and I just thought he deserved a chance.

"I don't see it as a gamble. I think he will thrive on the responsibility.

"I'm not interested in what he has and hasn't done, it's what he can do that interests me. I think he needs to be busy and have focus.

"People can criticise me for employing him but I look at England players who don't have his problems and aren't self-medicated and they are the ones abusing their position.

"He is the best player of our lifetime and he has only had one chance in management.

"It doesn't bother me if people criticise me. I am turning all my businesses into a charity in November. If Garforth become more successful it will mean more money for people I want to help, not for me."

And finally, from Gascoigne the manager. "I feel strong right now. For me personally it's a big challenge. It's whether the players want to join me in that challenge.

"I never knew when I'd get back into football. I want to take the club forward and I want the players to develop.

"I will give commitment to the club. Going to a club like this does not bother me one bit.

"I love this type of football. It is not flash and the players won't be flash.

"I will get the same publicity at Garforth as if I was at a Premier League club and I don't want the players to get carried away with it.

"I am excited. I can't wait to get in and get started but of course I will be nervous.

"I will take a little bit from each manager I've worked with and I want the players to play with a smile on their faces.

"The spotlight has never really been turned off for me.

"I just hope people concentrate on results rather than the other shitty stuff.

"Is it my last chance? It's up to me."

Football, collectively, should wish him well.

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 Post subject: Re: Gazza back in management
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:14 am 
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Nice of Clifford to help him imo, and of course let's hope this time Gazza doesn't make a mess of it and gets his life back on track... think he's been through enough and could do with being ok for a bit.

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