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Carson Wishart: Drinking in the last-chance saloon.

Byline: Carson Wishart

IF the football world really cares about its fallen idols, then Paul Gascoigne should be taken away to clean up his act.

Barely 48 hours after another genius-turned-alcoholic George Best was buried, Gazza was unceremoniously sacked as Kettering manager.

The former England star had given the Poppies' chairman Imraan Ladak 37 separate incidents to deal with during his 39-day tenure.

He accused Gascoigne of being under the influence during training sessions, at matches and allegedly he even fell off the team bus.

Gazza's ramblings on Sky Sports News later did little to suggest that Ladak was over exaggerating the depths to which his former boyhood hero has fallen, as the former Spurs man proclaimed he was indeed a genius and a millionaire who would buy back his job.

It's clear that Gascoigne is beginning to lose touch with reality and, like Best, is allowing his demons to propel him towards a doomed destiny.

The many parallels with the former Manchester United star are frightening. Not only has his behaviour raised serious questions over whether he has a role to play in football, but if he'll live beyond 59 - the age Best was brought down.

Gazza was a much-loved character in his playing days, but is now in serious danger of being remembered purely for his antics off the pitch.

He desperately needs help before it's too late. Sir Bobby Robson would be the perfect mentor, because Gazza is slurping away perilously in the lastchance saloon

CAPTION(S):

The parallels between Paul Gascoigne's life and that of George Best are disturbingly real
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 10, 2005
Words:264
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