Friends fear for Paul Gascoigne's health
Paul Gascoigne is given an 'open offer' of a job at Queen's Park Rangers as concerns grow for the troubled star's health
Published 23/08/2014 | 08:25
FORMER team mates and friends of Paul Gascoigne have called on the former footballer to “be strong” after he appeared to have slipped back into his long running battle with alcohol.
Pictures emerged on Thursday of the troubled footballer looking dishevelled and being helped into an ambulance after apparently being found slumped outside his home clutching a bottle of vodka.
Friends of Mr Gascoigne expressed concern for his health amid fears his problems with alcohol had returned.
The former England footballer has spent 20 years battling alcohol addiction, with numerous trips to rehab and has previously explained how he feared he might drink again, even though he knew it could kill him.
Harry Redknapp described the image of Mr Gascoigne looking gaunt and withdrawn as "so sad" and reiterated an ‘open offer’ to come and coach young aspiring footballers at his club.
Former team mate Chris Waddle urged the 47-year-old to “stay focused.”
Sports presenter and former England teammate Gary Lineker said that Gascoigne needed to help himself to recover from his alcohol problems.
He said: "Ultimately it has got to come from Gazza himself. I can honestly say that we have supported him over the years and lots of people have, Tottenham have, his friends have. I wish him well, but ultimately it has got to come from Paul."
Gascoigne, a former Newcastle United and Tottenham player, had recently signed up to play for Abbey Windows FC in Bournemouth's Sunday football league - a move which manager Chris Foster said he hoped would “help him enjoy life again.”
Chris Waddle, who played for England alongside Mr Gascoigne, posted a picture of the pair on Twitter after a World Cup match against Italy in 1990, with the message: “I love you mate.”
He also wrote: "I know it's hard to stay focused but you have so many people who want you to come through this come on stay strong."
Mr Redknapp, manager of Queen’s Park Rangers, also said he had attempted to help the 47-year-old former England star with an offer of a job coaching children with his club.
Yesterday Mr Rednapp repeated the offer as he expressed concerns over Gascoigne's health.
He said: “I see Gazza around - he's got a heart of gold and he's probably given his last penny away, but everyone has tried to help him and maybe the only person who can help him now is Gazza himself.
"I saw him about a month ago and said, 'Come training here and do a bit of work with the kids - I would love it if he could do that.
"I could pick him up at 5.45am every morning when I drive in for training, and that's an open invitation to him. The offer still stands.
"He's a great lad and it's so sad to see how he looks at the moment."
Chris Foster, manager of Abbey FC in Bournemouth said Mr Gascoigne had appeared “absolutely fine” when he signed for the club and said they were all saddened by the news.
He said: “We are all worried about him.
“The important thing was getting Paul out in the open and getting him to enjoy life again.
“All of us at the Abbey want to see a well and fit Paul Gascoigne. I just hope in his life he can find something that brings him forward rather than drags him backwards. “
He added: “The most important thing we thought was that Paul needed something to do and something to focus on. Football is his biggest love. When I said he could get involved with playing, coaching or managing positions he was over the moon.”
Mr Gascoigne’s daughter, Bianca Gascoigne, thanked people for their messages of support.
Mr Gascoigne is believed to still be in Poole Hospital where he was taken on Thursday night. A spokeswoman declined to comment on his condition.
The director of the management company of the flats in Sandbanks in Dorset where Mr Gascoigne had been living said rumours that he was being evicted were false.
Christopher Eales, 84, said: "The only thing I can tell you is that he has not been asked to leave.
"His lease will run out on September 13 and the landlord will not be renewing the contract as he wants the flat back.
"I know who the landlord is, but I am not permitted to tell you that.
After pictures of Mr Gascoigne being helped into an ambulance emerged on Thursday fans and friends expressed their shock at the image of him looking pale and thin.
Piers Morgan wrote on Twitter: "Come on Gazza, keep fighting."
Curtis Woodhouse, an England professional footballer turned boxer, said: "Gutted to see the legend Paul Gascoigne looking like this, what a player.”
Last year friends of the footballer; DJ Chris Evans, Gary Lineker, Piers Morgan and Ronnie Irani paid for him to return to rehab in Arizona in America, at a cost of £30,000.
Last September Mr Gascoigne appeared in a documentary about his alcohol addiction and explained his fears that about drinking again. In an interview he said "I hope I don't die from it, because I wont get any sympathy, because all I'll get was: 'well he was warned.'"