Chris Waddle: ‘Manchester United wouldn’t have saved Gazza’

Chris Waddle does not believe that a move to Manchester United instead of Tottenham Hotspur would have solved Paul Gascoigne’s many problems, per The Football Faithful.

What’s he said?

Gascoigne, affectionately known as ‘Gazza’ by many fans, has long been regarded as one of the most gifted players England has ever produced.

A World Cup semi-finalist in 1990, he played for Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Lazio, Rangers, Middlesbrough, Everton, Burnley, Gansu Tianma and Burton Albion in what turned out to be something of a nomadic career.

However, prior to his move to Spurs, he was heavily linked with a switch to United, and many have claimed that the stabilising influence of Sir Alex Ferguson could have saved Gascoigne from his demons, namely his drinking.

But Waddle does not believe that to be the case.

He said: “He would have driven Sir Alex Ferguson up the wall! I’m going no. I think Paul was very much an individual. He liked Terry Venables, I think they had a great relationship. Terry knew what buttons to press with Gazza. He knew he was a loose cannon.

“If you just got him on the park that was the safest place to put him because we didn’t know what else he’d be doing if he wasn’t on the park. You just look back and think Terry handled him very well. I think maybe Sir Alex with his Iron Fist, I don’t think Gazza would have enjoyed that. Gazza wouldn’t have enjoyed being bullied and intimidated at times.

“There was a lot of players coming towards the end of their time. I remember Viv Anderson was there, Bryan Robson, Norman Whiteside, and Paul McGrath and I think at United they were sort of known as liking a drink.

“Would that have helped Gazza? He would have been tagged on to it because that’s how he was. Nobody knows, I’m saying no, even though Man United were brilliant, and yes I could be wrong. Alex Ferguson could have been the manager that Gazza needed. But with Gazza, he got on better with managers who were a little bit more laid back.”

An arm around the shoulder

Gazza’s favourite manager has always appeared to be Sir Bobby Robson, the legendary boss who took England to the last four of the World Cup.

Ferguson, as Waddle claims, was not that type of manager, the one who constantly reassured his players of their own talents.

And, boy, was Gazza talented.

He was a maverick, a brilliant midfielder who could change games in an instant.

But his problems, so well documented, may well have been his downfall at United; who knows how long Ferguson would have humoured him.

It would have been mightily fun, though.