The day I met Paul Gascoigne – A troubled soul with a heart of gold & twinkle in his eye

Happy belated 54th birthday Wor Gazza and well done for defying the critics who didn’t think you’d get this far.

A troubled soul a lot of the time but one with a heart of gold the majority of the time and always a twinkle in his eye and a sense of fun.

I remember him coming to a Newcastle Eagles Basketball game and staying way, way longer than he needed too so he could sign every autograph and pose for a picture with the fans. He was in great form that night and the way he interacted with everyone was amazing to see.

He went on court after the game to shoot a basket and there was a real determination that he wasn’t going to leave the court until he made a shot and when he did there was a great big smile on his face. He was definitely an entertainer that’s for sure.

I shook his hand and thanked him for coming. To be honest, it shows how much footy is worshipped up here. 2,000 or so in Sports Central to watch The Eagles and a 50-year-old ex-footballer got the most attention!

For me if he’d stayed at NUFC he probably would have been the greatest we’d ever seen but sadly he was too good for our ailing side at that time and it was inevitable he would move on. He was a troubled mind but he was also a genius with a football and deserved more success in the game.

One of the true superstars of British football and always, always played with his heart on his sleeve and a smile, cheeky one at that, on his face. Daft as a brush? Of course, but boy his ability with a football took the game to different levels.

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