Gazza to the rescue.

For a long while, Paul Gascoigne has been ‘troubled’. And that’s a real shame. If he only knew how much the nation still loves the most gifted English player of his generation, perhaps he might feel the strength to pull himself out of his torpor.

So what does Gazza have to do with Parking In Stevenage? Well, Britain’s first New Town was the scene of one of his lowest points (in common with a lot of us). One night in 1998, Gazza stood on the platform at Stevenage station and contemplated throwing himself in front of the next train. The ones that rattle through without stopping are travelling at one hell of a lick, so if he’d got his timing right, there’s no doubt that would have been that.

As it was, he called then Middlebrough manager, Bryan Robson who immediately made the 600-mile round trip from Tyneside to come and pick him up. Disaster averted. For now.

The sight Gazza lived to see.

So it was touching to see Gazza reaching out to Raoul Moat, a man he says he knew, a man who’d reached a low point Gazza himself would recognise. Even in his over-refreshed state, the kindness of his heart drove him to gather up a few things he thought might bring the stand-off to a peaceful resolution.

So what had the negotiators foolishly overlooked?

– a dressing gown
– a coat
– some chicken
– some bread
– a can of lager
– a fishing rod

I’ll let Gazza explain what he had in mind in his own (admittedly slurred) words:

So Moaty didn’t make it. But Gazza’s still with us. According to press reports, he’s burnt his bridges with his family and friends who don’t know how they can help him when he can’t help himself. It’s a massive shame that someone as gifted as he was is equally cursed.

So I say now, Gazza, if you’ve Googled yourself and arrived at this page, we the British love you. Always have, always will. Any time you want to come round and chill, be my guest. Come back to Stevenage. It could yet be the scene of your finest hour!

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