- About Steve
- Steve's Books
- Lad Lit Book Reviews
- Indie Info
Thursday, 7 March 2013
Lad Lit Book Reviews: Gazza: My Story by Paul Gascoigne
The result was far more frustrating than enjoyable as I found myself shaking my head like a disappointed father more times than laughing at the ridiculous situations Gazza got himself into during a playing career which was wrecked by injury and self destruction.
Paul Gascoigne was the most naturally gifted British player since George Best, and he captured our hearts at Itlalia '90 with his skillful displays and of course those semi-final tears. And despite flashes of brilliance over the next decade or so, Gazza would become more famous for his front page headlines rather than those on the sports pages.
Don't get me wrong, the story is told in that same daft and cheeky tone we all fell in love with in the first place. The one that made it so easy for us to all forgive Gazza far too often. But it's also told in a way that says he's learned nothing. There is no doubt that Paul Gascoigne loves the game of football, but the further I got into this book the harder I found it to feel sorry for him after he continued to screw up one chance after another.
This book rarely tackles some of Gazza's major problems head-on, and instead much of his antics are painted in a boys will be boys way to almost justify it. The stories are funny, from Gazza climbing into a fish tank at a Rome restaurant to pick which lobster he wanted to eat to stealing a bus and taking all the passengers for a ride! But all the time I just kept thinking 'you should have been the greatest.'
It makes it even harder watching the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi (heck, even the Welsh have Gareth Bale!) perform magic on the pitch. We should have those memories of Gazza creating havoc to defences all over Europe. There should be more Colin Hendry ball-flipping-and-volleyed goals for us to look back on. Instead all we are left with are fleeting moments of genius that all seem far too long ago now. These types of players come along once in a generation if we're lucky and we had one, but he just pissed it all up the wall.
What makes it worse is that you're still willing him on throughout the book even though you already know the outcome.I wept along with him in 1990 when he took us to within a penalty shoot out of our first World Cup final since 66. I held my breath when he was inches away from scoring the Golden Goal that would have sent us into Euro 96 heaven. And I was as shocked as any England player when Glenn Hoddle left him out of the World Cup 98 squad.
But at the end of the day, I like my books to have some sort of happy ending, and this book doesn't really have that because of the fact that Gazza is still battling those well-publicised demons.