FALLEN football idol Paul Gascoigne has described “the pain” of knowing he might start drinking again - even though he recognises it might kill him.
A new documentary about the former England footballer reveals he is now addicted to sweets and spends £1,000 a year on anti-wrinkle jabs to counteract the ravages of drinking.
Gascoigne, who started his career at Newcastle United and went on to become one of the stars of his generation, was followed by a film crew for three months for an ITV documentary after his return from a treatment clinic in the United States, where he overheard doctors say he might die.
The 46-year-old told the filmmakers: “I just remember one bit after the third day of being in hospital when he said ‘I don’t think this guy is going to make it’, and I sort of put my head up a little bit and I was like, tubes in my arms and an oxygen tank injecting round my heart and lungs and that.
“I just come forward and I went ‘I don’t want to die, I need to water the plants’ and that was it, and then I woke up two weeks later.”
Gascoigne, who describes himself as “an addictive personality”, said: “With me now, if I did have a drink and relapse, it’s like becoming tipsy and merry is okay for a couple of days, but like the next mouthful I’m so down, I’m so depressed, I cry.
“I do all that because I know inside I’m hurting myself again. I know where I’m heading, a wooden box. Or I’m back in treatment or hospital. Or getting sectioned.”
Gascoigne said he had been “lucky twice” after almost dying from drink, saying: “I hope I don’t die through it. Because I won’t get any sympathy...because ‘well he was warned’.
“At least I know if I did pass away through it I wouldn’t be in this pain all the time.
“The pain’s like I know probably in the future I am going to drink again. “
Gascoigne was one of England’s brightest stars when he left Newcastle for Tottenham Hotspur in 1988, and moves to Lazio, Middlesbrough, Rangers and Everton followed, before his playing career petered out with short, ill-fated spells at Burnley, Gansu Tianma in China and Boston United.
His drink problems ended his coaching career, and he has not worked in football since being fired as the manager of Kettering Town in 2005.
Gascoigne, who now lives alone in Bournemouth, described his addiction counsellors as “true friends” and said: “When I packed in football a lot of my mates disappeared.”
He also said he spent around £60,000 on “James Bond” gadgets, which he says can spot if he is being filmed by hidden cameras.
* The documentary, Being Paul Gascoigne, which includes interviews with his parents, ex-wife Sheryl and children Regan and Bianca, is on ITV at 9pm tonight.