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Gazza says he is just like Taylor Swift as he returns to touring – revealing his fondest England Euro memories, how he posed for 460 selfies after a show and why he once had to pull his hair out

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Gazza says he is just like Taylor Swift as he returns to touring - revealing his fondest England Euro memories, how he posed for 460 selfies after a show and why he once had to pull his hair out

Paul Gascoigne has joked that he is just like Taylor Swift after returning to touring across the UK.

 

 

The iconic England footballer has been hitting the road in recent months, having gone on tour with his Audience With Paul Gascoigne show earlier this year.

The 56-year-old admitted his shows, which see him relive some of his fondest memories and wildest moments during his career to thousands of fans, give him the same buzz as walking onto the pitch in a packed out stadium.

Some of his most memorable moments of the tour so far include posing for 460 selfies after a show in Sheffield and recalling the moment he once had to pull his hair out or risk getting dropped.

His return to the limelight comes after Gascoigne recently revealed that he is staying in his agent’s spare room and is back attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in a bid to stay sober.

Speaking to The Mirror, Gazza joked that his tour bears a lot of similarities to that of Swift’s global hit Eras tour.

He said: ‘I tell them jokes and say “I did play football as well during my career”. It’s good seeing the fans again. I did 460 selfies at one show in Sheffield.’

The shows sees him sit down in front of audiences and recall some of the highlights from his playing career, as well as some more painful memories.

He recalled before one game, during his three year stint at Rangers between 1995 and 1998, Gazza showed just how devoted he was to the game when he was told to get rid of his new hair transplant.

H‌e said: ‘I had a weave on top. But I got some plaids put in and Archie Knox said to me “you cannot go out like that. They will have to go or you’ll be dropped”.

‘So I had to pull them all out. It was sewn in, not syrup but a weave. It took so long to get it all out. It came out in clumps.’

Another highlight was England’s 4-1 win against Holland in the Euro 96, which was hailed as the noblest England victory at Wembley since their world cup win in 1966.

‘There were 90,000 people singing “there is only one Paul Gascoigne” for our win against Holland, there were tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat.

Reliving his memories of the tournament, he added: ‘At Euro 96, there was a great atmosphere in the team hotel. Gareth Southgate, David Batty and Stuart Pearce would be playing cards, I would be playing snooker with Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler.

‘Southgate was quiet, a great defender, solid in training and really well organised. I always joke that I scored my penalty in the semi, and ended up in rehab. He missed and got a £30,000 pizza advert and the England manager’s job.

In March, it was revealed that he now lives with his agent Katie Davies on a residential street in Poole – seven miles outside of Bournemouth.

During the interview with High Performance, Gazza also revealed that when he arrived on the south coast he would get stopped by football fans for a drink and how he went on ‘three or four-day booze benders’.

‘I used to be a happy drunk. I ain’t anymore. I’m a sad drunk. I don’t go out and drink, I drink indoors,’ the former midfielder said.

‘People know Paul Gascoigne but Gazza, no one knows. Even me sometimes. I’ve spent a lot of years being down, when I did my ligaments and then my kneecap, I missed four years of football. I would’ve got 100 caps (for England).

‘I try not to get down because the world’s already down enough. And when I’m really down, that’s when I pick up a drink to cheer myself up.

‘I don’t think I let any managers down, or the players or the fans you know. If there was anyone I let down, it was myself. But more the drinking side of it, when I finished playing.’

Gascoigne, who was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002 before calling time on his career in 2004, has struggled with his battle for sobriety since retirement.

He went to rehab for a seventh time for alcohol addiction in 2014, attending a £6,000-a-month clinic in Southampton, and has even paid £20,000 to have anti-boozing pellets put into his stomach in a bid to stop drinking. He admitted during a 2021 interview that he will ‘always be an alcoholic’.

Gascoigne’s battle with alcohol has also led to a series of arrests for drunk and disorderly and drink-driving offences. The former superstar admits he barely watches football anymore because of how much he misses it.

‘If I want to make it a bad day, (all I need to do) is) go down the pub. If I want it to be a good day, get my flying rod out and go fishing,’ he added.

‘It’s not the drinking, it’s the afterwards. Looking at my phone after and seeing 30 messages or missed calls, I know I’m in trouble. But I’ve been alright. Last year wasn’t brilliant, was off and on for a couple of months.’

Gascoigne, who used to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings ‘all the time’ but now goes far less frequently, admitted that he is trying to pay visits more often.

‘I went to a meeting the other night so that was alright. Just an AA meeting. I went with a friend and that was okay. They’re alright, harmless,’ he said.

The England legend opened up on how he once apologised to shop owner after stealing a chocolate bar. The vendor told Gascoigne that the shop’s CCTV cameras had caught him, but he chose to do nothing about it because it was ‘him’.

Some members of the public, however, are less kind and forgiving of Gascoigne. Katie, who keeps no alcohol in the house, revealed that some people will occasionally leave bottles of gin on the doorstep, waiting for Gascoigne to unknowingly pick the bottle up and opportunistically take a photograph.

Opening up on his life after football and how he deals with his past, Gascoigne continued: ‘I called Katie up in November a few years ago crying my eyes out.

‘What I put myself through and other people, jail and rehab – taking cocaine off toilet seats – and then I’m asked to be ambassador for my country, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

‘When I do these venues, I hardly talk about football, more the crazy stuff I used to get up to. I’ve got to get straight in and get them laughing.

‘There’s a few times when I’ve cried on stage. You miss it on a Saturday, you know, entertaining people. I got such a f***ing buzz from it and you miss that.

‘I can be emotionally soft. It doesn’t take long for us to cry sometimes. I keep a lot of stuff in, stuff I should share but get scared of sharing with people. I don’t think I’ll ever grow up, which I don’t mind you know?

‘I’m proud of what I’ve given people. I gave nearly a million quid to 10 different charities and called them to keep it quiet.

‘I’ve never (given up). I think the time I’ll give in is when I’m in a wooden box. Apart from that, I’ll keep on fighting on.’

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