NEWS: Gascoigne @ Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Probably the most gifted footballer Newcastle, maybe even England, has ever produced; a prodigy, a liability and without doubt an enigma. Paul Gascoigne has had the kind of life you couldn’t make up. Hailing from Dunston, a troubled start to life left Gazza with a weight and emotional problems, and his family with financial problems. Like so many others his age, the future seemed bleak.

Unlike others, Gazza possessed a supreme natural ability with a football. His rollercoaster of a career was about to take off. Signed by Newcastle United at the age of 16, 1980 was the year things changed for the cheeky wee lad. Thinking only of providing for his family, the money began to pour in and the shoplifting ceased. Gazza had arrived and fame was just around the corner.

The Specials released Too Much Too Young that same year, and so it proved for the Geordie genius, as close scrape followed close scrape, but his footballing ability was so unbelievable that his private life was a burden worth carrying for Newcastle United and every subsequent club he played for. Despite being black and white through and through, money (and a sunbed for his sister) proved too much of a draw and, in 1988, the same year he made his international debut, he moved south to Tottenham Hotspur.

Awards and accolades flowed. He moved to Italy with Lazio and belched on TV, cried in the Italia 90 World Cup semi-final, became a Spitting Image staple, moved back to the UK and played for Rangers, Everton, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Giansu Tianma in China and Boston (the English one), scored that goal against Scotland in Euro 96, with that celebration…

I could go on for pages about his footballing career and even about his antics off the field, which more often than not landed him in trouble. I could tell you about the time a friend of mine ended up in hospital with Gazza after the car they were in crashed on the Quayside. I could tell you the heart-breaking story of his relationship with the love of his life, Sheryl; the alcoholism, the rehabilitation, relapse, rehabilitation… repeat ad nauseum.

I don’t have to though, because a brilliant and thorough film is coming out that tells the story of Geordieland’s favourite son, or enfant terrible, depending on how you look at it. Just watching the trailer for Gascoigne gives me goose bumps and brings a tear to the eye. Whether you are a football fan or not, this is a story that cannot be missed.

Gascoigne comes to the Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle from Monday 8th June.

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