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Manchester Confidential Meets....Gazza!

Published on January 7th 2005.

St Anne’s Square was rechristened the 'Gazza Plaza' for the afternoon as hordes of fans queued up to meet one of England’s greatest footballing talents.

Gough and Gazza - together at last!
Hundreds of people queued for over two hours in central Manchester to meet and greet the Geordie superstar who was appearing in Waterstones to launch and sign copies of his new book: Gazza – My Story.
The troubled former England star appears to have finally called time on a dazzling career of madcap adventures, a host of off field problems including alcoholism and marital problems, along with the injuries that threatened his career.
Of course, we should be remembering Paul for the dazzling skills he produced on the football field, but the British press, along with Gazza’s own antics, have made that impossible.
It’s this public perception that Gazza addresses truthfully for the first time in Gazza – My Story, giving the man once dubbed by Bobby Robson as ‘daft as a brush’, the chance to set the record straight.
Gazza said: “My career’s had so many ups and downs, it would be easy for people to remember the bad times more than the good. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve made mistakes, but there’s a lot that people don’t know.”
With a career that started at Newcastle United, Gazza found himself in big money moves to Spurs, Lazio and Rangers before moving on to the likes of Middlesbrough and Everton. Although he still claims to be on the look out for a new club and a new challenge, Gazza is clearly coming to the end of his illustrious career. Recent years have seen him try his luck at Burnley and even China - an experience described as “different” by Gazza himself.

Despite the injuries (A knee injury in the 1991 Cup Final whilst playing for Spurs nearly cut his career short in his prime), and off field problems, it’s the finer moments Gazza will look back on when he finally puts his feet up.
Gazza said: “Despite what I’ve been through, noone's going to take my best memories away from me. Ive played for my some of the biggest clubs in the world and have represented my country at the highest level.”
In truth, judging by the crowd that gathered to see Gazza this afternoon, the general public already have bigger memories of the likeable Geordie as a truly great footballing genius rather than how the press would have us remember him.
Simon Street of Oldham, part of the queue that streamed out of Waterstones all the way past the cows in the square up to Habitat, said: “The man’s a legend, what he does off the pitch is up to him, it’s the skills, THAT goal against the Scots, Italia ’90 that I’ll remember most.”
Despite missing out on Pie Club, Gazza still hadn't lost his sense of humour though, claiming he still should have been out there taking a penalty for us the other night - who knows? maybe he should!
Gazza – My Story is available from Waterstones priced £18.99

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