PAUL Gascoigne beat his wife. There is no other way to frame it.

According to Sheryl Gascoigne, the infamous incident in 1996 at Gleneagles Hotel four months after their wedding when her drunk husband left her face badly bruised and her arm in a sling, was far from a one-off.

She later wrote a book revealing in agonising detail the many times he hit her. To my knowledge, Gascoigne has never denied these allegations.

Two years ago, at a time when English football’s one-time icon seemed to be on the front page every other week, he was found guilty in a court of law of racially aggravated abuse.

Gascoigne "humiliated" a black security guard whose job that night was to protect the main man during his ‘An Evening With Gazza' in Wolverhampton by asking the gentleman, Errol Rowe, "can you smile please, because I can't see you?"

Some laughed. Many walked out. He, of course, had a drink in him. Before I go on, I actually don’t believe that a man who played with black players his entire career is racist. That was the drink talking.The drink tends to do all his talking these days.

The former Rangers player was in Glasgow a few weeks ago for one of those Q&As which every so often he can be seen at. The circus freak show hasn’t gone away.

A pal of mine was there. He was driving, which was a mistake because a bellyful of booze would have helped with the awkwardness he felt watching his hero on stage with Charlie Miller. Both seemed to be less than sober.

In his hometown of Newcastle last month, Gascoigne was again wheeled out like a performing monkey, slurring his words and making a fool out of himself. He spent part of the night abusing members of the audience. He was booed off stage.

And just this week, he was photographed trying to get into a stranger’s car in London in the middle of a busy road. It is beyond humiliating.

This is a man who at the end of this month is due to be inducted into Scottish Football’s Hall of Fame because, let’s face, what this guy needs now is to be put in a public place where there is plenty of free drink. What possibly could go wrong?

Shame on anyone who uses Paul Gascoigne to make a few bob for themselves. Shame on anyone who books him or takes any part in an evening with an alcoholic back on the drink with serious mental health problems. Shame on any ‘fan’ who gets a selfie with a human being at their lowest ebb because he once played for their football team.

And if the organisers of the Hall of Fame go ahead and try to get him to Glasgow to say a few words in the hope of some publicity, with the very real chance chaos will ensue, then shame on them.

Many believe Gascoigne has too much baggage to be honoured in this way. They have a compelling case. The ones who believe his off the field behaviour has nothing do with what he could do on the pitch – and I’ve seen few more beautiful with a ball at their feet – really need to give themselves a shake.

What I would say is this. There are quite a few already in the Hall of Fame whose personal lives are down there with Gascoigne’s. Some of our legends were less than perfect. Let’s not be too pious about the heroes who played for our own team because there are a few bad ‘uns.

However, repeatedly beating his wife puts Gascoigne in a class of his own but, and I’m going against my better judgement, I would still, just, allow him to join some of the greats of Scottish football.

But not yet.

It would be a serious lack of judgment to put such a troubled soul into the spotlight at a function full of temptation when he doesn’t need much tempting.

There will be some who believe that while footballers are not angels this one, as much of a genius as he was, is not deserving of any honour. I disagree, while holding my nose because wife-beaters are the scum of the earth.

I feel sorry for him than anything, so does his ex-wife incidentally, and one of the tragedies of his tragic life is the memories of his footballing talent are being forgotten. So much bad has happened since he retired.

Gazza was one off the best players Scottish football has ever seen. However, let’s pat him on the back when he is healthy and sober. If that day ever comes.


Staying with the Hall of Fame, and leaving the arguments about Paul Gascoigne aside, there are a few missing from the list which leave me puzzled.

There is no Davie Hay, Joe Harper, the late Neale Cooper and Kenny Burns to pluck out a few names. As for Gazza, I can think of Rangers players who I’d put in ahead of him. There is Arthur Numan, Ralph Brand, Jim Forrest and Ian Durrant. None of them as far as I can tell have been inducted as of yet.

I could also mention Dave Smith, Colin Stein, Bobby Russell, Colin Jackson, Peter McCloy. It’s subjective, of course, but these were great players.