Paul Gascoigne insists he has ‘no regrets’ and reflects on infamous Euros moment

As the country buzzes with Euro-themed excitement, we thought it was the perfect time to catch up with former England legend Paul Gascoigne. In a raw and honest interview exclusively for OK! VIP members, Paul addressed his "ups and downs," opened up about enjoying a quieter life and reflected on his infamous dentist's chair celebration at Euros '96.

After an on-off battle with alcohol addiction – which led him to have anti-alcohol stomach implants and treatment in rehab – Paul now lives a quiet life at his home in Dorset, where we meet with him for our exclusive interview and photoshoot. "I've had a good life," said Paul, who was adamant that he had "no regrets."

Are you an OK! VIP? If not, why not? It’s free and gives you backstage access to stories like this, exclusive home tours, special discounts and so much more! All you need to do is pop your email address below! P.s. if you’re already seeing this article in full, congrats – you’re already on our guest list!

When we arrive at Paul Gascoigne’s Dorset home, he’s just returned home from a three-day fishing trip in the local lakes. But rather than being grumpy – he didn’t catch anything and has hardly slept – Paul, affectionately known as Gazza, is nothing but charming.

Despite his thick Geordie accent, Paul is very softly spoken, gentlemanly and looks well for his 54 years. While some of this is down to a touch of Botox, his stint in Italy’s I’m A Celeb… has clearly done him the world of good.

The ex-England and Spurs star admits the 12-week appearance was like “therapy” as he was without his beloved coffee, ciggies and mobile phone, while overcoming both the starvation and challenges left him feeling mentally strong.

“I’m really feeling good,” he tells us. “It was very tough, but it was good for me and I’m glad I did it. Now I want to do the Australian one!”

This month marks 25 years since Paul’s famous dentist’s chair goal celebration during the England vs Scotland match in Euro 96. It was a clap back to the press who called him a “drunk oaf with no pride” following a pre-match bender.

While Paul tells us it was all in jest, little did he know that just two years later his relationship with booze would spiral out of control and eventually lead him to have anti-alcohol stomach implants and treatment in rehab. His beloved dad, John’s, death from cancer in 2018 was a devastating blow and led to a relapse.

These days Paul – stepdad to Bianca, 34, and Mason, 30, from his marriage to Sheryl and dad to Regan, 24 – leads a much calmer life. His modest home is just a stone’s throw away from the beach, and rather than booze-soaked nights out with the lads, he prefers fishing and cycling.

His biggest passion, though, will always be football. His face lights up when he talks about the beautiful game. However, his love is so
great that he struggles to watch matches. “It upsets me too much,” he says. “I wish it was me out there.”

Here, we chat to Paul about how he’s trying to overcome his demons, his battle with OCD and his hopes for England in Euro 2020.

Paul, as an England legend, how do you rate the team’s chances in the Euros?
Well, since 1966 we keep thinking we’re going to win something! I think we’ve got a decent chance. We’ve got a good young squad, they’re playing well and they’ve scored a lot of goals. I think we’ve got a pretty good chance – I think we can make the semis.

Who are England’s biggest opponents?
France, Portugal, Italy – they are all strong teams. But I’d hope on the day we could beat any of those teams. We just need the confidence. When you play for England [in a friendly] you’re in a dream world, but when it’s a tournament, it’s a different thing. It’s so big.

EXCLUSIVE TO OK! VIP CLUB

  • Inside Alex and Olivia Bowen's mansion
  • Craig Revel Horwood house tour
  • Social icon Lalalaletmeexplain's column

What advice would you give to the England squad?
Don’t read the papers! [Laughs]

What do you think of England manager Gareth Southgate?
I think he’s doing a fantastic job. He’s a nice man. His style’s alright, too – quite suave.

How do you think he would have fared managing you back in the day?
He’d be alright. I would just make him laugh!

Well, you do have the reputation as being the dressing-room joker…
I was, but when I came to playing the game I was serious. I would joke and jest to keep myself calm and the players calm.

Are you happy to see Spurs striker, Harry Kane, captain England?
He’s a good striker. But as far as I’m concerned, you need 11 captains out there. It’s not just one, it’s all of them.

You spent some of your career in Italy. Will you secretly be supporting them, too?
They are strong – but England are strong, too!

And what about Scotland? You have a great goal record at Rangers…
It’s down to how they play on the day, but that is the same with everybody. I hope Scotland do well – it would be nice if they made it out of the group with England.

How was your time in Italy’sI’m A Celeb …?
So, it was in Honduras and it was tough. The first few days were really tough, but then you get used to it. It was hard – no cigarettes, no coffee, no food. It was a challenge for all of us, but we just had to get on with it. We had to hunt for our own food – though it felt like there was no food to hunt! You were given a little fishing line and I caught a barracuda, so that was OK.

How did you get by with your Italian?
It was OK. I could understand more than I could speak. They were all very nice to me, and the fans.

You had to jump out of a helicopter to go in, how was that?
Yeah, I’ve never done anything like that before, but it was only about 15 metres high. I was alright.

How is your shoulder now? You had to take some time out of the jungle for treatment…
It’s not too bad. I had to have a few days out [of the jungle] for treatment and then a few days in isolation before I went back in. Hopefully, I will be having an operation shortly.

What did you miss the most while you were in the jungle?
To be fair, not much. There was a lockdown in England, so I didn’t miss much back home. I suppose I missed my TV. I like a bit of Netflix. I like horror films, documentaries and thrillers.

Who was the first person you called when you were out?
I called my agent Katie and my mum and my sister. It was difficult for them to watch, but they managed to see bits.

You said you felt the healthiest you’ve ever been after leaving the jungle. How are you doing health-wise, Paul?
I’m OK, apart from my shoulder. Once I’ve got that fixed I’m going to start training again. I’ve always been into my itness. I get on the bike and do sit-ups and press-ups.

Would you like to do the Australian jungle?
Yeah, I’d be up for that! It would be a breeze – it's only three weeks, and the Italy one was 12 weeks.

Who would you most like to see in the jungle with you?
Anybody to be fair. Ian Wright or David Seaman would be a laugh.

Are you still in touch with them?
Yeah, I just did a podcast with David. I text them both now and again.

Are you in touch with any of your other football mates, like Vinnie Jones and Gary Lineker?
I message them every now and again just to check in.

Who is the most famous person in your phone book?
Oh, too many! I reckon Robbie Williams. I’ve not spoken to him for ages, actually – but I’ve kept his number. [Laughs]

Going back to who you’d like to see in the jungle – who’d be a nightmare campmate?
No one really, to be fair. I love everybody!

Would you do any of the other reality TV shows?
I would like to do SAS or a Bear Grylls show, but I need to get my shoulder and hip sorted out. I slipped and broke my neck doing Strictly Ice Dancing. I have screws in my neck now. I’m falling to bits!

Is it true you were named after Paul McCartney and John Lennon? [Paul’s middle name is John]
[Laughs] Yes, that’s me mam, that. She is a big Beatles fan. She met Paul McCartney in France, so I think that’s where that came from. I don’t know why she named me after John Lennon – I should probably ask her!

You were born to be a star! Back to Euro 2020, where will you be watching it?
I don’t think I will get to any games. I’ll watch it on TV, but I don’t like to, really. I miss football so much I find it hard to watch. I want it to be me out on the pitch.

What about managing, you’ve had a little dabble with that in the past…
Nah, I don’t want to be a manager. I’m not interested. I just want to be a footballer again – a 54-year-old footballer! [Laughs]

How different is life like for a footballer now compared to when you were playing?
It’s probably the same. You get used to the pressure when you play in the Premiership. I used to eat chicken, beans, turkey before a match…

Didn’t you also eat Mars bars?
No! Well, yeah OK, but that was years ago.

What’s been your biggest achievement?
Becoming a professional footballer. I was only 17. That was my dream since I was a lad.

You were Sports Personality Of The Year in 1990 – that must have been special…
It was good to get the award. I went back to watch it a few years ago and wore the same suit! It’s incredible I could still fit into it.

Tell us about the famous dentist’s chair celebration during Euro 96 – whose idea was that?
Mine! I said whoever scores a goal, we are doing the dentist’s chair and it ended up being me. A couple of nights before the match, a newspaper ran pictures of us saying we were ‘disgracefool’ for having a few drinks. But that’s what we did back then. [The celebration] was a bit of a two fingers up to that, really.

Looking back over your career, do you have any regrets?
No, not one. I’m a positive person and I’m staying positive.

Who has been your biggest support during your toughest times?
[Pauses] Me legs! [Grins] I’m teasing, ya. Me family has always been there. I’ve got two sisters and a brother and they are all still up in Gateshead with me mam. I miss them and I do go up to see them.

And how about your kids, do you see much of Bianca, Mason and Regan?
Not much because of Covid, but I hope we can meet up soon.

Family and football aside, what are your other passions?
Tennis and cycling. I like to go out on my bike, down to the beach and ride around the little roads. I absolutely love shing and I go most days when I’m not working.

You’re based down in Dorset now, what brought you here?
A judge! I was done for drink driving about 16 years ago and I came to rehab down here to get myself well. I thought Dorset was nice and so I stayed.

Do you prefer the quieter life now, Paul?
I do. I go fishing about an hour away. I’ve just come back from three days of fishing.

You’ve had your ups and downs over the years, is life calmer for you now?
I don’t think I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve had a good life. I’ve had lots of fun!

Are you feeling strong mentally and physically now?
Yeah. I like to make sure I’m feeling fit.

Source: Read Full Article