Gascoigne - The Live Show
It’s 10.30pm on 9 July 2010. As suburban England closes her eyes on a balmy summer night armed gunman Raoul Moat remains at large. The country is glued to various media outlets as police trawl the Northumbrian countryside for their prey. After almost a week on the run, it’s starting to look like only a Superman-like figure can offer resolve.
Enter Gazza. Off his chops on what later emerges to be 14 lines of the devil's dust. Britain's last truly great footballer has arrived to sort Moat's head out armed with chicken and therapy. It unfolds like something out of a Ben Elton novel or Lynch film.
Joining the pack of police and media - Gazza claims to be Moat's mate. Unfortunately, live radio are on hand to mine every last drop of this broadcast gold. Hours before Moat blasts a policeman to death, Gazza stutters: "He is willing to give in now. I just want to give him some therapy and say 'come on Moaty, it's Gazza'.
"He is all right – simply as that and I am willing to help him. I have come all the way from Newcastle to Rothbury to find him, have a chat with him. I guarantee, Moaty, he won't shoot me. I am good friends with him."
Maybe this is how it ends? We think. Gazza in the line of fire, burning out rather than fading away. Cobain style.
But this was to be a mere footnote on Gazza's wacky Wikipedia page.
The ultimately tragic episode ends with Moat turning the gun on himself and Gazza is back in the news, raising fresh concerns about his mental health.
Gazza's Epstein Theatre talk on Thursday 25 February promises to offer many anecdotes such as the aforementioned. But it's his football career that should get most air time.
No matter how bizarre his private life has become, Gazza will undoubtedly be remembered for his playing ability. He earned 57 appearances for his country and was part of the squad that reached fourth place in the 1990 World Cup. Gazza also helped England to the semi-finals of Euro 1996; once again embedding himself in the nation’s hearts and minds with a spectacular goal against Scotland - coupled with a memorable goal celebration.
But in spite of Gazza's prodigious talent, the ups and downs continue. Just this week, he finds himself in the throes of a hate crime investigation by police.
The investigation centres on a "racist joke" made by Gazza. Audience members have reported Gazza drawing gasps after telling a black security guard, stood against a black background: "If you weren't smiling, I wouldn't be able to see you."
The night promises to be an exploration not only of some of the most iconic moments in football history. But of Gazza's uncanny ability to land himself in the shit, time and time aga