Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Year on, and Gazza Is Sorting Himself out; Friends Tell of Fallen Star's Recovery in Bournemouth

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Year on, and Gazza Is Sorting Himself out; Friends Tell of Fallen Star's Recovery in Bournemouth

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM MULLEN

A YEAR ago today, troubled Toon legend Paul Gascoigne's life lay in tatters.

The one-time Newcastle and England golden boy was seriously injured in a suspected drink-drive car crash on the city's Quayside, leaving him bloodied and suffering a suspected broken neck.

Just weeks later he was under the spotlight once again in a much-publicised bizarre encounter in Rothbury, Northumberland, at the police standoff with on-the-run gunman Raoul Moat.

The signs were not good and, just months later he appeared in two separate court cases accused of drink driving.

For one incident in Jesmond that saw him pulled over while four times the legal alcohol limit, the ex-Spurs, Everton and Lazio midfielder, who once delighted the world with his skills, was given a two-month jail term, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to undergo treatment for alcoholism.

Throw into the equation a bankruptcy case and allegations his mobile phone had been illegally tapped into by journalists and the last year was turning into a rollercoaster of ups and downs.

Following his court case, District judge Stephen Earl told him it was his "last chance" to avoid a prison sentence.

However, the judge also said sending Gazza to jail could be something like "using a sledgehammer to crack a nut." And perhaps this is proving to be true, as the Chronicle can today reveal friends and associates of Gazza are more optimistic than ever for the former Euro 96 star's future.

Since his drink driving court case in December, the 43-year-old has relocated to Bournemouth where a stint in the Providence Project rehab clinic is understood to have been a major success.

Now, he is gearing up for a series of question and answer-style six-date tell-all stage tour alongside fellow former footballer Jimmy Greaves. And close friends on Tyneside say they have even heard rumours he is playing football again. …

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