Paul Parker

Saddened by Gazza plight

Paul Parker

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I was saddened and disappointed to hear that
my old England colleague Paul Gascoigne has again been arrested for
drink-driving.

I was caught driving over limit myself
about 20 years ago, and I didn't expect any sympathy then. I knew I'd done
something wrong and learnt my lesson.

Gazza has to realise the same thing, that he
has done something ridiculously stupid and only has himself to blame. Hopefully
this time will be the moment when he realises that this has to
stop.

However, it's not as though this is the
first time he has been in trouble with the law. There is only so much patience
people can have for a man who continually spurns the second chances he is
given.

Just last week it was reported that he
turned down the chance to manage non-league side Garforth Town. Whatever the
reasons behind the club approaching him - and there is plenty of reason to
believe it was as much for publicity purposes as footballing ones - the
opportunity was there for Paul to immerse in a new challenge, something that
might distract him from his troubles.

Maybe he needs to get away from the game,
and perhaps even the country, altogether, in order to not be reminded of his
past so often. He knows better than anyone how he is the best player England has
produced in a generation, but for a variety of reasons he failed to fully live
up to that promise.

He has to look to people like Tony Adams and
Paul Merson and see how they managed to turn their lives around after suffering
such serious problems of their own.

People of all ages are still eager to shake
his hand and pat him on the back, but he must realise he is not that man
anymore.

He needs to realise that he is no longer
Paul Gascoigne the star footballer, but merely a man in his 40s trying to live a
normal life.

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