Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A memory of Gazza....

Most people will remember him for crying as England were beaten in the semi-final of the 1990 World Cup but I'll always remember seeing Paul Gascoigne scoring that goal against Scotland in Euro 96; I was actually sitting at that end of the old Wembley Stadium as he took the ball with outstretched leg. He had one man to beat and I think it was Hendry the big Scottish defender with the flowing blond hair. He didn't just beat him, he completely out foxed him by delicately chipping the ball over his head in one move, completely wrong footing the experienced back in the process and then on the volley with the other foot scoring in the right bottom corner across the face of the goal keeper. With the ball the man was a genius. I don't go to many football matches and will never forget that goal and the euphoria it created as Gazza celebrated his goal by immitatating the "dentist's chair" as his fellow players squirted water from a plastic bottle into his wide open mouth as he lay down on the pitch. (A reference to the wild, letting-off-steam preparations for the tournament (well it was the Venables days and the end of a different age in football) The celebration showed us all a glimpse of Gazza's character off the pitch, the character which the press have made us all too familiar with. I think it was Bobby Robson who inadvertently summed up Gazza in the early 1990s when he described him "as daft as a brush!" As it turned out he was probably spot on; although at the time it made him appealing in a rather childish, laddish way. He was a football genious, but also a football fans, one of the lads. It a great shame to hear about him in his current predicament, I'm not quite sure what "being sectioned" actually means but I'm sure it's quite a big step away from being in some detox "rehab" expensive hotel, which seems to have become trendy these days. I'm sure everyone wants to see him make a full recovery so that he can relive some of his best moments in later life with a clear head. I was never very good at the beautiful game but in a quiet moment I'll always be able to lay back, close my eyes and remember that early summer day back in 1996 and picture that awesome skill once more. Gazza gave me that memory....

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