FORMER England captain Terry Butcher has described Paul Gascoigne’s condition as “horrific” and urged his family to help the former Rangers star.
Fears have been expressed for Gascoigne’s life following his incoherent performance on stage at a dinner at the weekend and later pictures of him drunkenly urinating on plants.
Speaking at the launch of the Rival Nations event that is bidding to raise £100,000 for the Homeless World Cup, the Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager compared his former team-mate’s physical condition to that of a homeless person. “Look at the pictures of him now,” said Butcher. “It’s horrific. He’s thin. His legs are thin on that video and his arms are thin in the pictures in the paper.
“He looks terrible. In the end with the homeless people that’s what happens – their bodies break down and that’s how it goes from bad to worse.
“I watched the video, it was awful. I didn’t watch all of it. When he was slumped against the wall it was heartbreaking.
“I don’t know how much of him slumping was through drink or his body starting to fail him. That’s when you need help.
“He’s needed help for a long time but the thing about Gazza and the homeless people is that they’re very proud people and don’t want charity.”
Butcher was speaking, just a month after a tragedy which has clearly deeply affected him, at the launch of Rival Nations which will involve two 250-strong groups from England and Scotland playing football for ten hours in May.
“I’ve got two very good friends in Inverness who lost a son who was sleeping rough,” said Butcher. “He was 27 and had his whole life in front of him. He had alcohol problems. His family wanted to help him, he decided not to seek help from them and he ended up sleeping rough. The police found him and he was dead.”
Butcher fears that Gascoigne is heading the same way: “It’s tragic to see it. He doesn’t deserve it. I’d love to bring him in now and just say ‘come and stay with us’ but the problem is you can do so much for a period of time but then he’s got to go away on his own.
“I’m lucky I’ve a loving wife and great family. Gazza’s got a good family but he’s not had the partner I’ve had and other players. That hasn’t helped him.
“He’s been such a generous guy in the past, you’d expect and hope people would repay that by helping him now. He’s given so much to his family, they’re the ones now who have to help him out. I hope he turns his life around. I don’t think it’s too late.”
For more information of the biggest-ever event to raise money for the Homeless World Cup visit the website www.rivalnations.co.uk.