‘I’m a sad drunk’: Homeless Paul Gascoigne opens up on alcohol battles and new life living in his agent's spare room

6 March 2024, 16:30 | Updated: 6 March 2024, 17:21

England legend Paul Gascoigne has opened up on his new life in Bournemouth where he lives in his agent's spare room, and his struggles with 'three or four-day booze benders'.
England legend Paul Gascoigne has opened up on his new life in Bournemouth where he lives in his agent's spare room, and his struggles with 'three or four-day booze benders'. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

England legend Paul Gascoigne has declared himself a 'sad drunk' as he opened up about his struggles with addiction and the extent of his 'three or four-day booze benders'.

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The cult hero, affectionately known as 'Gazza', has battled alcohol addiction and mental health struggles since he hung up his boots in 2004, following a club career at Tottenham, Newcastle, Rangers and Lazio.

Gascoigne, 56, has now opened up on his new life on the south coast and how he gets stopped by football fans who would encourage him to go for a drink.

Speaking to the High Performance podcast, Gazza revealed he now lives with his agent Katie Davis on a residential road in Poole - around six miles from Bournemouth, Dorset.

Paul Gascoigne during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at Old Trafford, Manchester, June 19, 2023
Paul Gascoigne during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at Old Trafford, Manchester, June 19, 2023. Picture: Alamy

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"Bournemouth's not such a football town," Gazza told the podcast. "When I first arrived I was getting stopped at weekends, it was a nightmare.

"If Bournemouth was playing at home, playing like Manchester United, the town would be full of Man United fans."

He said it was "hard" to deal with the attention of fans wanting to buy him a drink.

"That's a good thing. Saves me money," Gazza quipped, but said

Opening up on his alcohol struggles, Gazza said: "It's not the drink so much it's the consequences.

"I know I'm in trouble if I look at my mobile and I've got like 30 messages and 30 missed calls. I think: 'Oh s**t'.

"I've been alright, last year wasn't brilliant, I was off and on. A couple of months and then a three, four-day bender."

Following his struggles with sobriety, Gazza was admitted to rehab for a seventh time in 2014 amid continued efforts to give up the booze.

He said in 2021 that he had "always been an alcoholic" following arrests for drunk driving.

Paul Gascoigne playing for England against Germany in Turin, Italy, July 4, 1990
Paul Gascoigne playing for England against Germany in Turin, Italy, July 4, 1990. Picture: Alamy

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Gascoigne told the podcast: "I used to be a happy drunk. I ain't anymore. I'm a sad drunk. I don't go out and drink, I drink indoors".

He said: "People know Paul Gascoigne but Gazza, no one knows. Even me sometimes. I've spent a lot of years being down, when I did my ligaments and then my kneecap, I missed four years of football. I would've got 100 caps (for England).

"I try not to get down because the world's already down enough. And when I'm really down, that's when I pick up a drink to cheer myself up.

"I don't think I let any managers down, or the players or the fans you know. If there was anyone I let down, it was myself. But more the drinking side of it, when I finished playing."

Gascoigne said he drinks coffee now instead of alcohol, and will often have six cups before 10am.

But he claimed that some people try to trip him up publicly by leaving bottles of alcohol outside his front door, then photograph him when he picks them up.

He added: "I called Katie up in November a few years ago crying my eyes out. What I put myself through and other people, jail and rehab - taking cocaine off toilet seats - and then I'm asked to be ambassador for my country, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

"When I do these venues, I hardly talk about football, more the crazy stuff I used to get up to. I've got to get straight in and get them laughing.

"There's a few times when I've cried on stage. You miss it on a Saturday, you know, entertaining people. I got such a f****** buzz from it and you miss that.

"I can be emotionally soft. It doesn't take long for us to cry sometimes. I keep a lot of stuff in, stuff I should share but get scared of sharing with people. I don't think I'll ever grow up, which I don't mind you know?

"I'm proud of what I've given people. I gave nearly a million quid to ten different charities and called them to keep it quiet.

"I've never (given up). I think the time I'll give in is when I'm in a wooden box. Apart from that, I'll keep on fighting on."

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