Gazza Reminds Us Just What Crazy Really Looks Like

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Written By Chris Azzopardi

We at KCKRS have a lot of laughs about the so-called “crazy” footballers. Silly hat-wearing and iPad-toting Mario Balotelli, catchphrase-spewing Emmanuel Frimpong, the reformed “intellectual” Joey Barton, and Andriy “strange little man” Arshavin are all common targets. But there’s one man who makes them all, and even the famously unhinged Diego Maradona, look like trainspotting accountants: Paul Gascoigne.

As a footballer, Gazza combined flair with tenacity, and was one of the few universally appreciated skill players in a nation that traditionally valued grit and dedication above all else. His tearful visage after being booked in the semifinal of the 1990 World Cup is, along with Bobby Moore lifting the Jules Rimet trophy in 1966, one of the most iconic images of English soccer. He was inspirational in that World Cup, and was named to the team of the tournament. Sir Alex Ferguson once claimed that his greatest regret from his entire managerial career was “not signing Gazza.”

Off the field, Gazza was a mess. His personal relationships were punctuated by abuse. He self-medicated his serious mental health issues (bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder) with alcoholism and drug abuse. After his retirement, things only got worse; without the steadying influence of football, his issues spiraled out of control, leading to binges and benders that threatened to kill him on multiple occasions.

In a recent interview with Piers Morgan, Gazza detailed just how serious his appetites had become.

“At my worst I had 16 lines of coke a day. I was on four bottles of whisky a day for three months. It took two bottles just to stop the shakes.”

And because no Gazza story is complete without a bizarre incident or two, he revealed that he had gone on a bender with Mohammed Gaddafi’s sons while in Libya while he was playing for Middlesbrough (1998-2000).

“I went to Libya when I played for Middlesbrough and took Gaddafi’s two sons out and got them lamped. I also signed this thing in his compound. I think it was a bomb.”

Gazza is currently undergoing rehab.

Full story: The Sun

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