Paul Gascoigne has revealed he used to get paranoid hearing the Gaza Strip mentioned on the news because he feared it was another negative news story about him.
The former England footballer – known as Gazza – has opened up about his life and career in a new documentary film Gascoigne, which had its premiere in London last night.
The 48-year-old from Gateshead equalled the British transfer record when he moved from Tottenham to Italian club Lazio in 1992, and went down in history for his tears in Turin when he realised a yellow card in the World Cup semi-final against West Germany in 1990 would rule him out of the final if England had won that match. The Germans prevailed in a penalty shoot-out and went on to win the tournament.
But he has also battled mental illness, drugs and alcohol addiction. He was sectioned by his family when he became convinced his phone was being hacked, but last month won victory in the High Court as one of the celebrities awarded damages for phone hacking by Mirror Group Newspapers.
Gascoigne told the Press Association: “I had a great career. There have been parts since I stopped playing that I’ve really enjoyed, and then I get knocked down again for no reason. Sometimes it’s got to the stage now where I hate Saturday nights, because jack s*** knows what’s coming in the papers on Sunday.
“I tell you what was the worst one, the Gaza Strip. You know the term the Gaza Strip, remember that? That was murder for me. I’d be sitting there having a shave and that, and the news would come on ‘And the Gazza…’ and I’d be like ‘What’s that?!’ and I realised it was the Gaza Strip. I couldn’t wait for that to end.”
The new film, written and directed by filmmaker Jane Preston, charts Gascoigne’s rise from a young boy kicking a tennis ball on the streets of Gateshead, through his rocky career, marred by injury and much-hyped transfer deals, and overcoming the lows of his addiction.