Paul Gascoigne is one of the most talented footballers England has ever seen.
It’s a shame that the Italia 90 icon has become more synonymous with his post-football problems than his skill on the pitch with a modern audience, but many still remember ‘Gazza’ fondly.
You have to wonder how things could have turned out differently for Gascoigne if he was directed on to a different path – and Manchester United were one of many potential options.
Gascoigne has previously told the story of how he’d given Sir Alex Ferguson his word that he would move to Old Trafford, leaving Newcastle United in 1988 after lengthily phone calls.
But after Tottenham chairman Irving Scholar offered to buy a house – worth £120,000 – for Gascoigne’s parents, the England iconic opted for a switch to north London instead.
Gascoigne to Man Utd?
Ferguson was livid with the change of heart, even going as far as writing Gascoigne a letter in which he branded him a ‘silly boy’ and the war of words didn’t end there.
The legendary United coach later mused that Gascoigne joining him at the Theatre of Dreams could have put him on the straight and narrow, potentially saving years of heartache.
However, it’s not a theory that Gascoigne prescribes to and he made that pretty clear during an appearance at Altrincham’s Moss Lane stadium earlier in the year.
Gascoigne fires back
‘Gazza’ downplayed the theory that Ferguson would have put him on the right path by taking aim at four United legends and sinking the knife in about their own personal strifes.
“Alex Ferguson says it would have been different if I had signed for Man United,” Gascoigne said during the event, per The Athletic.
“Well, Rio Ferdinand did a runner from a f***ing drugs test. Eric Cantona two-footed some c*** in the neck in the stand. Wayne Rooney s****ed a f***ing granny. And Ryan Giggs s****ed his brother’s f***ing wife. F***ing hell, man.”
To say Gascoigne didn’t mince his words would be the mother of all understatements and the four issues he spoke of there remain controversial topics for each of the players name-dropped.
Man Utd controversies
Ferdinand was infamously banned from football for eight months in 2003 after missing a drugs test, while Cantona picked up a similarly lengthy suspension of nine months for THAT kick at Selhurst Park.
As for Rooney, United’s all-time record goalscorer admitted to frequenting brothels in 2004 and was reported to have spent an evening with a then 43-year-old grandmother.
And it’s well publicised that Giggs maintained a long-term affair with the wife of his brother, Rhodri, who recently made light of the scandal in a tongue-in-cheek Paddy Power advert.
Those details weren’t lost on Gascoigne, clearly.
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