As Paul Gascoigne takes part in a new documentary charting his life, Chief Sports Writer Scott Wilson examines the North-Easterner’s highest and lowest moments


Senior debut for Newcastle

Having been born in Dunston, Gascoigne had already developed a reputation as a talented maverick when he signed his first professional forms with Newcastle in 1980.

He made his senior debut under Jack Charlton in a 1-0 win over QPR in 1985, and went on to make another 91 appearances for the Magpies before he was sold to Tottenham for a British record fee of £2.2m in 1988.

England debut vs Denmark

Many of Gascoigne’s greatest moments came in an England shirt, and Sir Bobby Robson handed him his senior debut as a late substitute in a 1-0 win over Denmark in September 1988.

Over the course of the next decade, he would win 57 caps for his country, scoring ten goals, and he is rightly celebrated as one of the greatest players England has produced.

World Cup 1990

The Northern Echo:

It might have ended with him in floods of tears, but England’s 1990 World Cup campaign in Italy is rightly regarded as the high point of Gascoigne’s playing career.

He was sensational as England progressed to the semi-finals, and while a booking against West Germany meant he would have missed out on the final had Robson’s side won on penalties, his subsequent sobbing made him a national hero.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Gascoigne’s status as a national treasure was confirmed when he was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1990.

The award, which was largely a recognition of his efforts at the World Cup finals, saw him elevated to a select band of Britist sportsmen and women who have transcended their sport to achieve wide-reaching fame.

FA Cup semi-final goal for Tottenham

Of all the magical goals Gascoigne scored during his club career, the one that stands out most is the long-range free-kick at Wembley that helped Tottenham reach the 1991 FA Cup final at the expense of their North London rivals, Arsenal.

Just five minutes had gone when Gazza lined up a free-kick 35 yards from goal, and his scorching effort flew past David Seaman into the top right-hand corner of the net.

Goal vs Scotland at Euro 96

The Northern Echo:

Having joined Scottish side Rangers a year earlier, Gascoigne’s career was arguably on the wane when he joined up with the England squad at Euro 96.

However, he rolled back the years with a series of superb displays, capped by a memorable goal against Scotland that saw him loft the ball over Colin Hendrie’s head before volleying it home.


Cruciate ligament injury in FA Cup final

If Gascoigne’s performance in the 1991 FA Cup semi-final was remarkable for all the right reasons, his short-lived outing in the final at Wembley was a massive low point in his career.

Just 15 minutes had gone when he launched himself into a reckless knee-high challenge on Gary Charles, and the subsequent cruciate ligament injury sidelined him for more than a year.

Failure to make the 1998 World Cup squad

The Northern Echo:

Having joined Middlesbrough the previous March, Gascoigne was desperate to enjoy a final flourish on the World Cup stage in the 1998 tournament in France.

However, with his personal life beginning to spiral out of control as he photographed on drinking binges with TV stars Chris Evans and Danny Baker, Glenn Hoddle axed him from his preliminary squad citing concerns over his fitness.

Divorce from Sheryl

The Northern Echo:

Gascoigne married his long-term girlfriend, Sheryl, in July 1996, but the pair divorced acrimoniously in early 1999.

Since the pair broke up, Gascoigne has admitted being violent towards his former wife, with one particularly unpleasant episode at Gleneagles leaving Sheryl with a black eye and badly bruised face and arm.

Long-standing alcohol problems

Gascoigne has admitted to a long-standing alcohol problem, and he was first admitted to the Marchwood Priory hospital to receive treatment for stress and drink-related problems in 1998.

He admitted himself to an alcohol rehabilitation clinic in the United States in 2001, underwent emergency surgery for a perforated stomach ulcer in 2007 and has now been in rehab on seven different occasions.

Sectioning under Mental Health Act

Gascoigne was sectioned under the Mental Health Act after a disturbance in Newcastle’s Malmaison Hotel in February 2008, and was detained under the same act again after members of the public reported him acting strangely in Hemel Hempstead the following June.

He was sectioned again last October and placed on a three-day emergency detox after another alcohol binge left him in an extremely vulnerable position.

Involvement in the hunt for Raoul Moat

One of the strangest episodes in Gascoigne’s personal life came in 2010 when he became embroiled in the dramatic man hunt to catch fugitive killer Raoul Moat in Rothbury, Northumberland.

Thinking that he knew Moat from the time when the gunman was a doorman at a Newcastle nightclub, Gascoigne approached the police cordon claiming to be carrying “a fishing rod, some lager and a cooked chicken”.