No sooner does one famous British football drunk pass away than another pops his alcohol addled features over the parapet. Paul Gascoigne, the most famous English footballer of the 1990s, had an eventful Monday. First he was sacked as manager of Kettering Town after 39 days in charge, among accusations of drinking. Then he was arrested for assaulting a photographer.
I wonder whether drunks have a better feel for their times than the rest of us. George Best, the “fifth Beatle”, with his sultry good looks, Belfast brogue and string of beautiful blondes was on a par with Twiggy and the mini as a symbol of swinging 1960s Britain. “Gazza”, on the other hand, with his lager lout image, his notorious “friends” (Jimmy “Five Bellies” Gardner), his marriage marred by continual incidents of domestic assault, is from altogether coarser stock, emblematic of the yob culture of Britain in the 1990s.
Despite it all, I feel sorry for Gazza. At least Best seemed to have a good time (“I spent 95% of my money on fast cars, women and alcohol—the rest I wasted”) Gazza just seems a tortured soul. He’s been swimming around in his own private lake of Black Carling lager so publicly for so long that it is hard to believe he is still two years short of his 40th birthday. His comments on the chairman who sacked him sound deranged.
"He's not the chairman, he's Imraan the doctor," added Gascoigne. "I'm Paul Gascoigne and I take charge of this club.
"I'm a multi-millionaire and I'm angry. I've tried to buy him out already. I told him it was the fans and Paul Gascoigne against a doctor - who will win?
"I know that the supporters, the players and the staff of Kettering Town are all behind me, not him.
"Two years ago I would have given in but not now. I'm a genius and I know what's going on the football field."
I don’t see any happy end in sight for this poor bastard. You can read more about the soap opera that is Paul Gascoigne here.