Football: IT ENDED IN BEERS; Legend Gazza Was a Boozer Who Made Us Laugh but Didn't Get Me to the Top

Article excerpt


GAZZA sipped Chablis and Jimmy Five-Bellies had mineral water.

"It's obvious you are not off the booze completely," I told him. "If you want to go bang on it, book into a clinic and then check yourself out on a Friday to come and play for us, I don't mind.

"If you've been on the p*** all night, tell me. I'll pick a team to suit you for 30 minutes. I'll do what you want. Just play. If you're knackered, I'll take you off."

I didn't give a toss about his drinking stories. If you are in a booze clinic, get a 24-hour pass.

I know plenty of players who have wowed football just hours after stumbling home p*****.

Whingers lined up to savage Gazza... but b*****ks to the lot of them."I can see you in the play-off final at Cardiff," I said. "Conducting my orchestra with the roof shut."

"That's it," he declared. "I only want to play for Burnley."

It was music to my ears but Walter Smith then decided he wanted to keep Gazza at Everton, where he had become a bit-part player.

But when David Moyes replaced Walter, he was wise enough to accept that Gazza wanted out and I told the player to come to my house to sort out a deal.

My wife Kath knew he would bring his pal.

"Stan," she called as I was negotiating with Gazza's agent Ian Elliott.

"What is it?"

"It's the steak and kidney pie," she said.

"What about the pie?"

"Well," she said. "It's supposed to feed six but I am worried Five-Bellies will think it's an individual portion!"

Elliott was off his food anyway.

"Last night Gazza made me a sandwich and I've been up all night on the bog. I went 14 times. Him and Five-Bellies mixed high-strength laxatives with my tuna."

Negotiations stalled and my son Chris decided to break the tension and invite Gazza and Five-Bellies for a pint in my local, The Kettledrum.

I warned them: "If you walk into that pub, the news will be all over town in 10 minutes. There will be so many people outside it will make Mafeking look like a picnic."

Gazza laughed and left. As he walked into the pub, I heard the sound of jaws hitting the floor.

"Gi's a pint, love," he said.

Grown men bowed before him. Requests flooded in.

"Gazza, sign my packet of Lambert and Butler, will you?"

As Gazza sipped on a glass of white wine, blokes kissed him. One had his best disco shirt autographed by him in black biro.

Chris realised it could get out of hand and took him away.

They left through the kitchens and as Gazza passed through the dining area, the landlord placed a curry in front of a customer. …