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8

Paul Gascoigne

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Born: 27 May 1967 (Gateshead, England)

Paul Gascoigne

1988-1991
Appearances: 112. Goals: 33.
FA Cup winner, 1991.

Gazza. An icon of his generation.

Cheeky, yes. Daft as a brush, according to Bobby Robson, but also a genius. At his best, Paul Gascoigne was one of the best in the world, without question, and one of the greatest players to wear a Spurs shirt.

He certainly delivered one of our greatest moments when he pinged home a free-kick from 30 yards to help us beat Arsenal in the 1991 FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. "That is schoolboys' own stuff," famously remarked commentator Barry Davies. It was, and we loved him for it.

Born in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, Paul began his career with local side Newcastle United, first joining as an apprentice before making his debut at the age of 17 under manager Jack Charlton.

Just four years later, and after being named the PFA Young Player of the Year for 1988, he was heading south to join us in north London as we pipped a host of clubs to sign one of British football’s brightest prospects.

What made ‘Gazza’ such a talent was how his outlook on the game matched his outlook on life. His free spirit sparked his creativity on the pitch and gave him an enduring passion for the game. You could see that enthusiasm whenever he was on the ball. Given the chance, he took the game to his opponents, running at them and slaloming past them with a burst of pace and a quick change of feet. 

As we saw the best of him week in, week out, Bobby Robson slowly brought him into his England plans. A spectacular display against the Czech Republic at Wembley in April, 1990 secured his place at that summer's World Cup - and that's where Gazza went into the stratosphere.

His displays against Holland - including a 'Cruyff' turn, against the Dutch - Belgium, Cameroon and West Germany, and those tears in the semi-final, meant a worldwide star was born. He was voted Sports Personality of the Year and fourth best player in the world at the annual Ballon d’Or awards. What a year.

Gazza delivered arguably his best season in 1990/91. Famed for his semi-final strike, Paul also scored against Oxford, twice at Portsmouth and again against Notts County in our FA Cup run before his sublime performance at Wembley to put double-chasing Arsenal to the sword, Gary Lineker also netting twice that day.

Unfortunately, his career changed on his biggest day. Gazza seriously damaged knee ligaments challenging Gary Charles just 10 minutes into the FA Cup Final in May, 1991. That put his career - never mind a looming move to Lazio - in doubt. Thankfully, we came through against Forest, Paul Stewart and Lineker on target - and the players soon headed to the hospital to share the moment with their stricken team-mate.

Gazza eventually got his move to Serie A, and later enjoyed spells with Rangers, Middlesbrough and Everton among others. He won the lot in Scotland, clinching the title in his first season - 1995/96 - with a hat-trick against Aberdeen. He then starred in England's run to the semi-finals of Euro 96, scoring one of Wembley's most memorable goals against, you guessed it, Scotland!

One of our most popular players of the modern era, Gazza was back at the new stadium and took part in our Legends match against Inter in March, 2019, his arrival off the bench greeted with the biggest cheer of the day.

Paul Gascoigne - one of the greats of the modern era...