He mightn’t ever have been called a drunken moron on the Jay Leno show, but it’s impossible not to conclude that Paul Gascoigne’s latest foray into football management will end in tears.
Set to be appointed at Garforth Town – whose owner Simon Clifford says he’s motivated more by charity than publicity – Gascoigne says he’s in better health than when he last came to notoriety, showing up with food, a Newcastle shirt and a fishing rod for beleaguered murderer Raoul Moat.
Gascoigne’s 39-day spell in charge at Kettering five years ago ended when he was sacked for drinking too much. Which isn’t a new story. Nor, sadly, was news of Paul McGrath’s court appearance in Wexford last week for assault, stealing a car and drunken driving.
There are similarities to people’s willingness to help Gascoigne and Paul McGrath’s surprise arrival as Director of Football at Waterford United in 2004. Both are national institutions: loved for their skills as sportsmen, pitied for their personal flaws.
That they still engender such goodwill is largely down to an appreciation that only a drop of luck separates most of us from falling under the wagon. From Gazza to Brian Cowen to any post-match booze-up gone pear-shaped, Homer Simpson said it best: “Beer is the cause and solution to all of life’s problems.”