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Football: Walter accused Gazza of being drunk for two weeks .. Gazza was so scared he peed himself; THE LORENZO AMORUSO STORY.

Byline: IAIN SCOTT

PAUL GASCOIGNE sat cowering in the Ibrox dressing-room as Walter Smith unleashed a torrent of abuse in the direction of the wayward Geordie genius.

Fists clenched, eyes bulging with anger the Rangers gaffer spat out his rage knowing the holy grail of 10-in-a-row lay in tatters.

One by one the superstars who had carried Gers through the glory years were ripped to shreds until finally Walter turned his anger on fans' favourite Gazza.

Quivering like an errant schoolboy as Smith glowered above him spitting with rage, Gazza's lips trembled with fear, his knees shaking uncontrollably.

He couldn't handle the abuse and as Walter continued to rant and rave one of the finest footballing talents in the world peed himself in front of his shocked team-mates.

It was the beginning of the end of Gazza's rollercoaster Ibrox career.

At that moment Lorenzo Amoruso knew he would never have the chance to play alongside the man he had grown to love in their short time together.

Amoruso had arrived at Gers speaking little English but was immediately befriended by ex-Serie A star Gascoigne who helped him settle in Govan.

But as the dream of a record-breaking 10th title started to look doomed the pressure began to mount and Amoruso, who hadn't yet made his competitive debut for Gers after picking up a knee injury, knew a crushing defeat at Fir Park seemed to have handed the title to Celtic.

He said: "It was around March and the title was slipping away. We had gone to Motherwell and lost 2-1 after Coisty - who was making his own late push to save 10-in-a-row - had opened the scoring.

"It was a terrible defeat and one that seemed to push Walter Smith over the edge because on the Monday he was angrier than I had ever seen him.

"He was furious and wanted the players to know . `You are throwing the title away to that useless lot across the city,' was his message.

"He singled out some players for special attention. One by one they were dealt with until he reached Gazza. "And as for you,' he said, `you've hardly been sober enough to train properly for the last two weeks...'

"Walter had really lost it now. I was certain he was about to punch Gazza in the face. It was a scary sight - too scary for Gazza.

"I noticed his trousers were turning a darker colour around the groin. I could not believe what I was seeing. He was sitting there peeing himself right before our eyes.

"I can't remember what happened next. I think Walter just walked away and the rest of us did not know what to say.

"But less than a month later Gazza had gone to Middlesbrough. By the time I was fit enough to begin playing again he was away and that remains one of my great regrets."

Amoruso knew the peeing incident was the end of the England star's topsy- turvy Ibrox career and sweet revenge for striker Erik Bo Andersen who months earlier had been on the receiving end of one of Gazza's sick dressing-room japes.

Early in Amo's Ibrox career he looked on in horror as the Geordie's schoolboy humour turned nasty.

Bo Andersen was lying on the ground trying out some stretching exercises and to Lorenzo's horror Gazza piddled all over the top of him.

The Gers midfielder thought it was a great laugh but he was soon to have the tables turned in the most embarrassing fashion.

Lorenzo said: "It was disgusting - but what was really incredible was Erik's reaction. He meekly asked Gazza to stop as if it was just a little joke.

"I remember thinking to myself if he had done that to me he would have to spend the rest of the day on his hands and knees looking for his teeth."

Although that incident horrified Amoruso he knew deep down that the Geordie joker simply wanted to be everyone's pal.

And the Italian believes big-hearted Gazza played a key role in helping him settle into his new surroundings.

Amo said: "I remember at the start of that season I had made my debut in a pre-season friendly against Everton at Goodison and Gazza, who was injured, watched from the stand next to Glenn Hoddle.

"I had to come off because my ankle was troubling me and although I didn't know it at the time it was the start of my seven-month injury nightmare.

"But after the game Gazza said: `Lorenzo, get well as soon as possible because you looked good out there. I'm looking forward to playing with you.'

"That meant a lot. I had just arrived at Rangers and here was the great Paul Gascoigne giving me a compliment. I will never forget him and even though he did some unbelievable things and got himself into a lot of trouble, deep down he was and still is a good guy.

"All he ever wanted was to be loved and maybe his heart was too big. Yes, he did some stupid things but he was also one of the most generous people I have ever met. Maybe too generous."

Amo and former Lazio star Gascoigne had hit it off since the Italian arrived in a Pounds 4million move from Fiorentina.

The big defender recalled: "Gazza is a one-off - a great guy - and we quickly became good friends. He started talking to me in Italian but the only problem was almost every word was swearing.

"He's a funny boy and a great player - a guy who even in an empty dressing room can make the atmosphere.

"With the team going for 10-in-a-row the atmosphere was unbelievable and Gazza was at the middle of everything.

"Everybody who has got to know him will have a memorable story - some good, some bad and some mad, like the day he had an injured ankle and was told to go to the treatment room to get it in plaster.

"The physio, who was making sure everything was perfect because Gazza was such an important player, asked him at the end: `How does it feel?'

"Gazza looked up and said: `That's fantastic, a great job. There's just one thing ... it's the other ankle I twisted!"
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 17, 2002
Words:1041
Previous Article:Football: NEGRI WENT OFF RAILS WITH BOOZE; The Lorenzo Amoruso Story.
Next Article:Football: STEVE VOGTS FOR CALL-UP.


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