herald

Sunday 10 December 2017

I can beat my demons, claims Gazza

Troubled former England footballer Paul Gascoigne has said he can overcome the demons that saw him admitted to hospital in a drink-fuelled stupor.

The ex-Spurs favourite, whose legacy on the pitch has been overshadowed by alcohol and drugs since retiring a decade ago, was treated in hospital in Dorset when he suffered a relapse last week after spending the previous seven months clean.

Gascoigne (46) told a Sunday newspaper he did not want pity and was determined to stop drinking for good.

"I know I can overcome this," he said. "I am an alcoholic, so I am taking one day at a time, but I will get there."

Gascoigne said he turned to drink after being served with an eviction notice on his flat in the up-market area of Sandbanks, Poole.

He said people had been leaving alcohol on his doorstep in the weeks leading up to his latest "blip".

He told the newspaper: "Until a few weeks ago, I was doing great. I had a bad moment. Now I want to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Since retiring, Gascoigne has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and has described how he was snorting cocaine and drinking a litre of gin a day, which left him delusional.

sacked

He went public about his continuing battle with addiction in 2009, telling BBC Radio 5 he had been clean of drink and drugs for four months, taking part in the 12 Steps Programme and attending Alcoholics Anonymous.

Other high-profile incidents involving alcohol included being sacked as manager of Kettering in 2005 after he was accused of being drunk at games.

He also appeared at the scene of the stand-off between the police and gunman Raoul Moat in 2010.

Arriving in Rothbury, Northumberland, he claimed he was a friend of Moat and said he had brought him "a can of lager, some chicken, fishing rod, a Newcastle shirt and a dressing gown''.

But he is still remembered by fans of the clubs he played for - including Newcastle United, Lazio, Rangers, Everton and Middlesbrough - for his brilliance on the pitch.

He starred in midfield for Terry Venables' England side during Euro 96, when his virtuoso goal against Scotland was topped off with an equally memorable celebration.

Six years earlier he was seen crying on the pitch after being booked in the semi-final of the 1990 World Cup against West Germany, the booking making him unable to play in the potential final.

hnews@herald.ie

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