SPORT ON TV: A Mishmash of Cod Psychology and Clips with Everything
Glover, Tim, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)
To underline the mental decline of Gazza it was said, on his behalf, that while waiting for a train on Stevenage station he contemplated suicide. Aside from the fact that regular passengers know the feeling, the problem with Inside the Mind of Paul Gascoigne (C4, Thursday) was the title.
There was no contemporary discussion with the subject, so it was left to old clips and the usual suspects to try to explain the rise and fall of a player described as Britain's most naturally talented footballer. Not surprisingly, the conclusion was that he is, literally, barking mad. He had a twitch and he used to make barking noises. There but for the grace of dog.
According to former team-mates, Gazza was a walking pharmacy/ off- licence. Paul Merson, who has had a few problems of his own, has become rent-a-quote on any player who falls off the rails, particularly at Stevenage. "Gazza had a brown leather Dr Dolittle bag which contained every pill you could think of," he said. Merson added that the gifted one's breakfast consisted of a bottle of red wine and a fag.
Terry Venables, who took Gascoigne from Newcastle to Spurs for pounds 2m in 1988 (at the signing, Gazza spoke to the manager through a teddy bear), described him as a "little boy lost". "I wouldn't know whether he had a huge drink problem," Venables said, "and if I did, I wouldn't tell you."
There was no such reticence from the professor of psychology who provided the expert analysis the programme craved to lend it gravitas and attempt to justify the unjustifiable.
At the outset, a voiceover claimed that Gascoigne had hit devastating mental problems, was a child trapped in a man's body and sought escape in alcohol and pills. "How close is he to a complete mental breakdown?"
Enter Professor Kevin Gournay, a leading authority on neurological diseases, who described the patient as exhibiting classic symptoms of obsessive- compulsive disorder, not to mention Tourette's Syndrome. Gournay cited abnormal involuntary movements, shouting and grunting and the compulsive straightening of towels.
"He is beset by …
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Publication information: Article title: SPORT ON TV: A Mishmash of Cod Psychology and Clips with Everything. Contributors: Glover, Tim - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent on Sunday (London, England). Publication date: July 13, 2003. Page number: 10. © 2009 The Independent on Sunday. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.