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The day Rangers signed Gazza and Ibrox got a new hero


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IT all started out in the self proclaimed ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’. It was at Ibrox where Paul Gascoigne shone on the big stage, though.

 

Twenty years ago today, Rangers broke their transfer record, Gazza signed and the Light Blue legions had a new hero to worship.

 

His Gers career may only have lasted less than three years, but Gascoigne packed enough into those mesmerising, trophy-laden and controversial seasons to last a lifetime.

 

He joined a squad that already included the likes of Goram, Gough, Laudrup and McCoist and instantly became an integral part of the dressing room and Walter Smith’s plans.

 

Two decades on from his arrival, he is still held in the same regard by the fans who saw him strut his stuff in Scotland and ensure the dream became a reality as Rangers clinched nine-in-a-row.

 

“I remember it well,” Gers legend John Brown told SportTimes as he recalled the summer of 1995 that saw Smith shell out £4.3million to bring the England international to Glasgow from Lazio.

 

“When he signed for Rangers, Walter, Ally, myself and John Greig were in Vegas and he came out there with Sheryl to a supporters function.

 

“I met him out there and we were all looking forward to seeing him play in a blue jersey.

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“At that time, he was on top of the world. He was a fantastic signing for Rangers.

 

“It was great to see him join the club and it was a nice introduction over at Caesar’s Palace.

 

“We met for brunch and he was a really nice guy, and someone who was desperate to do well for Rangers. He went on to have a fantastic career for the club.”

 

It didn’t take long for Gazza to justify his worth and live up to the hype that surrounded his switch to Ibrox.

 

He had his doubters and he had his problems, but he had an in-built, natural genius that marked him out as one of the greatest players of his generation.

 

The questions over just what he could have achieved, and just how good he could have been had it not been for injury problems and his ability to self-destruct, remain.

 

But the memories are only fond ones for Brown, like they will be for Rangers fans, of the man who signed on July 10, 1995, and remains a hero to this day.

 

“He was a fantastic guy, very generous, and obviously the joker in the pack as well,” Brown said.

 

“He came into the dressing room and was great to have around.

 

“In training, he was fantastic. With the ball at his feet, very few of the defenders, like Gough and myself, could get it off him.

 

“He was such a talented guy. He took Rangers to another level again, not only on the park in terms of the titles and in Europe, but in terms of the profile of the club.

 

“It was amazing to have Paul Gascoigne at Rangers and he was a terrific player for us.”

 

The first and last competitive goals of his debut season, a remarkable campaign that saw him net 19 times, earned Gascoigne his place in Ibrox folklore.

 

His header against Celtic in a 2-0 Old Firm triumph came just weeks after he had signed on the dotted line but he saved the best for the following April and the penultimate game of the campaign.

 

It was the day Rangers won eight-in-a-row and Gazza stole the show.

 

It was the midfielder at his imperious best, his burst into the box and scooped finish, the surging run from midfield and curl into the top corner and cool penalty to complete his hat-trick arguably his finest moments in Light Blue.

 

“The game against Aberdeen to win eight-in-a-row stands out,” Brown said.

 

“He scored some great goals but the run from his own half, right through and finished it, that was a fantastic goal.

 

“He had brought us level and Alan McLaren, his best buddy in the squad, said to him ‘come on Gazza, you need to win this game for us’.

 

“We wanted to win the league that day at Ibrox. It was a bit of magic from Gascoigne, and I don’t think there was anyone else on the park that could have produced that sort of quality.

 

“He had all his family there that day. We partied in the Thornton Suite that night and his family were there. It is great to remember nights like that like.”

 

From the first impression 20 years ago to the memories of the Rangers No.8 at his best, the legend has stood the test of time.

 

There is, of course, the other side to the Gascoigne story, the sad downfall and personal problems that have blighted his life as he has made the headlines for very different reasons.

 

Yet, for Brown and those who saw him in action, the abiding memories will always be of Gazza at his best as they are taken back two decades to a moment that changed their lives forever.

 

Bomber said: “We had a veterans game at Bognor Regis at the weekend and we were hoping he would be there but he didn’t make it unfortunately.

 

“It would be good to see him again at some of the Rangers functions. It is great to bring back those memories.

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“When you consider all that has gone on in recent years, the memories of times like that are so fond for Rangers fans.

 

“They were great days and he gave us such fantastic memories. It was a privilege to be part of the same team as Paul Gascoigne.”

 

http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/sport/rangers/13381933.The_day_Rangers_signed_Gazza_and_Ibrox_got_a_new_hero/?ref=twtrec

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I watched the 'Gascoigne' documentary film this week and ended up being a bit disappointed, both in the man himself and also by the way his time at Rangers was portrayed by the writer and director Jane Preston.

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Friday, 10 July 2015 16:30

Gazza: Twenty Years Ago Today

Written by Nick Thomson

 

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TWENTY years ago today, Rangers pulled off arguably the biggest coup in the club’s history as they signed mercurial genius Paul Gascoigne from Lazio.

 

It was a capture of monumental proportions as the most high-profile footballer in Britain and perhaps even the world headed to Glasgow to join Walter Smith’s all-conquering side of the time.

 

There were those who questioned the wisdom of signing Gascoigne however. He had a history of injuries, on-field disciplinary problems, off-field skirmishes and there was a feeling that he was past his best.

 

There is little doubt though Gascoigne played the best football of his career at Rangers, and often his play was as good as anyone’s who had ever donned the blue jersey.

 

And it was Rangers' good fortune during this time to have not just one but two very special players. With Gascoigne and Brian Laudrup in the side, they were formidable.

 

Gazza could do just about anything he set his mind to with a football. He had instant control, quick feet that could take him past player after player and such wonderful vision to make defence-splitting passes that 40-yard killer balls were a commonplace.

 

He didn't help out much in defence, but when charging forward with the ball at his feet he was a breathtaking sight.

 

He had such awareness of what was going on around him that he could change the course of a game in an instant, creating opportunities with a flick or a lob. Or he could ghost past a wall of players to set something up.

 

And then there was his shooting. He had a high strike rate for a modern-day midfield player - 39 goals in 103 appearances in the blue of Rangers.

 

Born in Gateshead on May 27 1967 and had played for Newcastle, Tottenham Hotspur and Lazio before signing for Rangers for £4.3 million.

 

He was 28 when he came to Rangers and scored on his home debut in the 4-0 victory over Steaua Bucharest in the Ibrox International Trophy in July 1995. By his fourth League match he had catapulted himself into Rangers folklore with a stunning goal in a 2-0 victory over Celtic.

 

But his most important contribution in his first season came, inevitably, when the chips were down.

 

It was April 28, 1996. Rangers were facing Aberdeen. Victory would give them their eighth successive League title, but they were 1-0 down and looking far from comfortable when Gascoigne took the game by the scruff of the neck.

 

First he collected the ball from a corner on the left side of the Aberdeen penalty area. He went past two defenders and from the narrowest of angles chipped the keeper for goal number one.

 

Next he got possession inside his own half, ran more than 50 yards straight at Aberdeen. His strength and determination saw off the challenges and with his left foot he placed the ball into the far corner for goal number two.

 

Finally, he sealed his hat-trick and the Championship with a penalty. It was a one-man show, the stuff dreams are made of. But it took a Gascoigne to make them come true. It was a fitting climax to what had been a magnificent season for him.

 

He went on to play a key role the following season too as Rangers made it nine league championships in a row.

 

He departed Ibrox for Middlesbrough in 1998, but his contribution at Ibrox will never be forgotten.

 

http://www.rangers.co.uk/news/on-this-day/item/9597-gazza-it-was-twenty-years-ago-today

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Gascoigne was a great entertainer and domestically did really well, but I thought he was bought for Europe and at that level he failed.

 

 

Yes, he did, but he wasn't alone in that regard. The team was geared up for domestic success but that was their ceiling. Some painful lessons were handed out by continental opponents.

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I watched the 'Gascoigne' documentary film this week and ended up being a bit disappointed, both in the man himself and also by the way his time at Rangers was portrayed by the writer and director Jane Preston.

 

Crazy thing is - is that he played more times for us than any other club!

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20 years ago, wow. I remember camping in France at the time and couldn't believe we got him.

 

During 95-96 season its difficult to say there was a better player in Europe and in Euro 96 was easily the best player.

 

As Craig says its often those with flaws who have a bit of genius, a lot of people say if he went to Man Utd he would have been different but Im not so sure.

 

Gazza won us 8IAR / Laudrup won us 9IAR (and probably 7) but as Andy Goram says losing Gazza in 1998 cost us 10IAR. A half fit Gazza would have made the difference that season.

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