Pools legend in Gazza plea

Joe Allon
Joe Allon

HARTLEPOOL United legend Joe Allon has flashed a good luck message to close pal Paul Gascoigne after it emerged the former England ace is once again struggling to beat the bottle.

Gazza was pictured at a charity event over the weekend struggling to stay composed, frequently breaking down in tears and shaking uncontrollably before being helped from the stage.

His agent later admitted the troubled 45-year old needed immediate help, and it emerged on Monday that the Geordie had been admitted to a rehabilitation centre in America in another bid to help him beat his self-confessed alcoholism.

Joe, who played alongside Gazza at Newcastle United, said: “I’m pleased that he has gone back to the clinic and it’s nice to see people like Chris Evans getting involved and helping him out.

“I’m sure if we were all multi-millionaires we would have done the same thing.

“The first step is the fact that he has admitted he needs help.

“I think now it would be lovely if people give him space, it’s going to take a long time for him because it’s an illness.

“It’s alright people saying he should sort himself out and it’s easy looking in from the outside, but he’s suffering with an illness.

“In my opinion at the 1990 World Cup Gazza was the best player in the world, and hopefully he will get better and we can talk about the football instead of the other stuff.

“We all wish him all the very best.”

Meanwhile town-based media man Paul Gough, who organised Gascoigne’s book tours through his Goffy Media firm, admitted he was shocked to see footage of the former England star at the weekend.

Paul said: “The pictures and footage were harrowing, and it is clear that Gazza is not well.

“I have done several events with him of that nature, but I would question why he was put up on stage in a room where drink is flowing when he was clearly under the influence himself.

“He was frail and fragile and that was clearly not the best environment for him to be in at that point.

“He clearly needs help and I am pleased to hear he appears to be getting that.”

In a statement, Gascoigne’s management team GamePlan Solutions said he had been touched by the help and support shown by fans and figures within football over the past few days.

The statement said: “Alcoholic Paul Gascoigne has been experiencing a tough time of late.

“He has been asking for help and has willingly been admitted to a treatment centre in America. He has complex issues that are currently being dealt with by professionals.

“Paul has been extremely touched and overwhelmed by the generous offers of help and support over the past few days.

“He is motivated to fully understand and control his addiction problem under guidance.”