Paul Gascoigne: Exemplifies the State of English Football

Germany football legend Jurgen Klinsmann. A World Cup winner, European Championship winner, domestic league and cup winner. Even a fan favourite down at White Hart Lane, in between his days at Inter Milan and Bayern Munich. He is one of the most famous German faces from the 90’s. Following his successful playing days, Klinsmann then took up the role as the head coach of the German national football team. He lead them to the semi finals of the 2006 World Cup, eliminated by future Champions, Italy, in extra time.

Roberto Baggio. The ponytail of Italian football throughout the 90’s. Domestic league and cup winner, UEFA Cup winner as well as European and World Footballer of the Year in 1993 amongst other individual honours. Fondly remembered at Fiorentina, Juventus and Bologna, Roberto Baggio, like Jurgen Klinsmann is one of the greats. Since retiring in 2004, in his late 30’s, Baggio has lived a relatively quiet life, although has been linked to a role with the Italy under 21 setup recently.

And then there’s England’s star of the 90’s; Paul Gascoigne. An FA Cup winner in 1991 with Tottenham Hotspur is the most-respected medal in his trophy cabinet. A star of the 1990 World Cup and Euro 1996, Paul Gascoigne had a big money move to Lazio at one point and a successful time at Glasgow Rangers. Following the glamour days, his career finally dwindled out at lowly Boston United before a short and unsuccessful management spell at Kettering Town. Since losing that job, he has suffered with alcoholism, health and mental problems.

So, while former German and Italian football icons are making success in football management or keeping a low profile, England’s footballing hero of yesteryear is, as recent as last weekend, reported to be drunk and putting himself in the way of a murderer on the run. It’s a sorry state of affairs, much like the England national football team in recent weeks.

Signing for Terry Venables’ Tottenham Hotspurs in 1988 was the worst move of Paul Gascoigne’s career. The lack of discipline by his manager towards the world class player only enhanced the rich, glamour life Gazza was living. In London of all places. The party’s and drinking sessions that have been around the blocks about Paul Gascoigne are stunning. Football was such a fun life and career for such a talented player. But it ruined him. Venables’ ill-discipline lead Gascoigne to the uncontrollable person he is today. A man who’s end may not be too far around the corner.

Whether any other manager, Sir Alex Ferguson included would have changed his ways remains unknown. But for such a great player and cultural icon that Paul Gascoigne once was, it’s a shame to see him in the state and condition he is in today, just 8 years after last playing in the Premier League and 6 years after hanging up his boots.