• June 17, 2021

Exclusive: Paul Gascoigne was called a ‘fat b******’ by Sir Alex Ferguson over Man United U-turn, rejected Liverpool because he couldn’t understand Sir Kenny Dalglish, and joined Tottenham over dad’s demands

 Exclusive: Paul Gascoigne was called a ‘fat b******’ by Sir Alex Ferguson over Man United U-turn, rejected Liverpool because he couldn’t understand Sir Kenny Dalglish, and joined Tottenham over dad’s demands


The year is 1988. Three phone calls are about to change Paul Gascoigne’s life forever.

Raised in poverty during a childhood littered with tragedy and trouble, the Newcastle prodigy is days away from becoming the most expensive British footballer in history, not to mention the most famous.

This kid was about to spark an almighty tug of war

Getty

This kid was about to spark an almighty tug of war

“I said, ‘Dad – it’s Kenny Dalglish,” Gascoigne tells talkSPORT.

“My dad just said, ‘Money, son’.”

Liverpool want a 21-year-old Gascoigne, already a First Division superstar, to be part of their unprecedented English dominance.

There was just one problem.

“I spoke to Dalglish and I did not understand a word he said,” Gascoigne adds. “So that deal went out the window.”

Things could’ve turned out differently if not for Sir Kenny’s thick Scottish accent

Getty

Things could’ve turned out differently if not for Sir Kenny’s thick Scottish accent

The phone rings again. It’s Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, this time.

Gascoigne repeats: “My dad looked at me, held out two hands and said, ‘Money’.”

“I told him I was definitely going to sign.

“Sir Alex said, ‘So I’m going on holiday, when I come back you’ll have signed for Man United, you’ll be at Old Trafford?’

“I told him, ‘Yes, definitely’. I was so excited.

“In two days, I was going to sign for Man United, they were going to pay the £2.2m.

“Then the phone went and it was Spurs.”

Sir Alex and Man United were about to embark on some serious glory in 1988

Getty

Sir Alex and Man United were about to embark on some serious glory in 1988

Fast-forward to the present day and Gascoigne is chatting to his old Rangers pal Ally McCoist for a new talkSPORT documentary ‘Gazza and McCoist: Together Again’.

He’s looking fit and healthy after years of personal trouble – and reflecting on a career which lives on in the heart of every England fan, particularly with a European Championship on the horizon.

Sir Alex knew Gascoigne would become one of the all-time greats.

As recently as May 2021, he named Gazza as his biggest transfer regret.

Everyone could see Gazza was a special talent

Getty

Everyone could see Gazza was a special talent

But Irvine Scholar, the Tottenham chairman, made the superstar an offer that consigned Fergie to the list of great Scotsmen snubbed by Gascoigne.

Gazza continues: “My dad said, ‘You’re not signing for Spurs, you’re signing for Man United’. I said that to the chairman.

“He said, ‘We’ll buy your mum and dad a house’. I told my dad and he went, ‘Well what the hell are you waiting for son? Tell him I need a car. I want a BMW and also I’ll find the house’.

“He hadn’t even left the settee! As I’m driving to Tottenham, I went past Old Trafford and I was actually shaking.

“I thought, ‘He’s going to go off on it with me, Sir Alex Ferguson’. I was petrified.

“I was a mile away from Spurs and I get a call from my sister, she said, ‘If mum and dad are getting a house, I want a sunbed!’

“So I think the deal was done on a sunbed.”

In the end, Tottenham beat Man United and Liverpool to Gazza’s signature

Getty

In the end, Tottenham beat Man United and Liverpool to Gazza’s signature

There was nothing strange about that decision for a man who grew up sharing a single upstairs room of a council house with his family.

But Sir Alex could not understand – and went as far as writing a letter to, rather impolitely, inform Gascoigne of his mistake.

“I was getting fan mail by the dozens and I got this big one, it was from Sir Alex Ferguson,” the former midfielder remembers.

“He hammered me, ‘You stupid, fat b******’. He told me he had the choice to be manager of Barcelona and Real Madrid – but he chose the biggest club in the world.

“It took him six years to speak to me again.”

Don’t worry, they’ve since made up

AFP

Don’t worry, they’ve since made up

The 47-year-old only has one FA Cup to show for his domestic career in England, hardly befitting of such a legend.

And he still thinks about that sometimes, too.

Gascoigne adds: “The first season, we did better than Man United, so I thought that was OK. But the next year, he started playing Beckham, Scholes, Butt, they won the league by a mile.

“That’s when I thought, ‘Wow – I could’ve been there’.

“Sometimes I do look back at the amount of stuff they achieved with Sir Alex.

“There are times I look back and think what it would’ve been like if I was at Man United.”

Gazza still had plenty of good times at Tottenham

Getty

Gazza still had plenty of good times at Tottenham

But the truth is, Gascoigne never wanted to leave his boyhood club Newcastle in the first place.

He admits: “I didn’t want to leave, but I had no choice.”

At Newcastle, Gascoigne was the most talented kid of his generation despite eating copious amounts of junk food.

And it turns out Sir Alex wasn’t the only legendary manager to insult him over his weight.

He reflects: “I remember watching Kevin Keegan, Terry McDermott, Peter Beardsley and Chris Waddle thinking, ‘One day I’m going to join them’.

“They didn’t really pick me when I was an apprentice, they said I was pulling too much weight.

“Jack Charlton asked me, ‘Are you a good player?’ I told him I was.

“He said, ‘How long you got left on your contract?’ I said two years.

“He went, ‘Two years? You got two weeks you fat b******! So you better start training.”

“I binned the minstrels and the fish and chips, within a month I was captain of the youth team, won the youth cup, then I was captain of the reserves, and I played for the first team just before I was 17.”

Gazza signed for Newcastle when he left school aged 16

Offside Sports

Gazza signed for Newcastle when he left school aged 16

Charlton gave Gazza his first taste of senior football, but not until after some tough love

Getty

Charlton gave Gazza his first taste of senior football, but not until after some tough love

From there, Gascoigne would become one of the most famous English footballers in history, both for his generational talent and his lovable personality.

But even after everything that’s happened, just scoring at the Gallowgate End was enough for him.

He says: “I remember going home, I got man of the match against Liverpool, Man United and Spurs, I asked my dad when he was going to come and watch me.

“He said, ‘When you’ve made it. Remember where you come from’.

“I was so confident and I didn’t care who I was up against, even if I had a bad game, as long as I worked hard for the team.

“My dream was to score at the Gallowgate end – and when I did that, I felt like I made it.”

Recognise the kid at the front?

Getty

Recognise the kid at the front?

Listen to Gazza and McCoist: Together Again on talkSPORT at 7pm on Tuesday as the England legend talks tears at Italia 90, his Euro 96 heroics vs Scotland, his Rangers regret and much more.





Source link

Reporters Team

Related post