In an excerpt from the book, ‘Our Gazza: The Untold Tales‘, published in The Mirror, Chris Waddle has revealed that he convinced Paul Gascoigne over a pint to snub Manchester United in favour of a move to Tottenham Hotspur.
Man Utd’s attempts to sign Gascoigne is well documented with Sir Alex Ferguson left fuming when the midfielder decided to move to White Hart Lane instead of Old Trafford (Daily Mail).
Waddle has now revealed that he convinced the legendary England midfielder to join him Spurs after he told him good things about then Tottenham manager, Terry Venables.
Waddle said: “I had one year with Gazza at Tottenham and that was long enough! But I was instrumental in him signing for Spurs.
“It had looked like he was going to join Manchester United from Newcastle. I met him on Tyneside for a pint on a Sunday lunchtime.
“As usual, he had a gang with him. I asked him what he was doing because Newcastle were prepared to sell him and he told me he was ready to sign for United.
“I told him that Terry Venables would love to speak to him but if he had set his mind on joining United, fair enough.
“He asked me what Terry was like. I told him he was a good manager. Anyway, as we left he was walking up the road and he shouted back, ‘Waddler, see you at White Hart Lane on Monday.’
“I thought the drink had got to him and he was just having a laugh. Sure enough, he turned up at Tottenham. That was it – he ended up joining Spurs.”
Ferguson has claimed that a move to United would have instilled discipline into Gazza’s life and ensured he did not face the problems he did following retirement (Athletic).
However, Waddle insisted that his former Tottenham teammate would have been the same eccentric personality irrespective of the footballing decisions he made in his career.
He said: “A lot of people have often said it was the wrong choice – that he should have gone to Manchester United because Alex Ferguson would have sorted him out.
“But it wouldn’t have made any difference, whoever was managing Gazza. He might do daft things around the training ground, but when he’s out on the pitch that’s where he is at his happiest and it would have been the same for whoever he was playing for.
“At the time United had personalities like Bryan Robson, Paul McGrath, Norman Whiteside and Viv Anderson. Did they not like a drink?
“The Queen could have been in charge and that wouldn’t have altered things one jot.”
Waddle also compared some of Gascoigne’s antics from his Tottenham days to that of Elvis Presley.
The 59-year-old added: “At Spurs, Gazza always had his entourage around him, including his big mate Jimmy ‘Five Bellies’. At times there would be a dozen of his pals from Dunston (on Tyneside) staying with him.
“He always reminded me of Elvis Presley – Elvis always had a big group around him but, like Elvis, Gazza would be very much alone in his own head, not entirely happy with his life.
“He once won a load of money on a big horse racing bet and went out and bought them all Harley Davidson bikes. Can you imagine it? Gazza turning up and paying cash for a load of top-of-the-range motorbikes?
“I know most of them sold them and used the cash, although Jimmy actually kept his. He might still have it. You used to read about Elvis doing things like that – lashing out on expensive gifts for his entourage. I know that Gazza was an Elvis fan and he might have been influenced by him.”
Spurs Web Opinion
It is arguable that Gazza’s eccentric personality is what made him the unpredictable player he was on the pitch. I am not sure instilling too much discipline into his life would have been beneficial to the legendary midfielder’s game.
Gazza was a free spirit who approached games with the attitude as if he was having a kick about with his friends in the park. That is why he was able to do so many outrageous things on the football pitch on a consistent basis.
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