Paul Gascoigne has revealed Sir Bobby Robson caught him playing tennis at 1am the night before England’s Italia ’90 semi with Germany.
Gazza was infamously once labelled “as daft as a brush” by Sir Bobby, but the England boss possibly had stronger thoughts in mind on this particular occasion.
Gazza has opened his heart on his Italia ’90 adventure, in the foreword to the new book by legendary football author and Zapsportz’s very own Harry Harris, Italia ’90 Revisited: The Players’ Stories.
Gazza loved his World Cup journey and has the tales to match. He said: “It was the best time of my life, I loved it.
“I loved it from the moment I got on that plane, nothing phased me. I wanted to be in the World Cup, every players’ dream, but it felt like I was going on holiday. I was playing tennis, table tennis, I loved it, every minute of it.
“Of course playing tennis at 1 in the morning before the World Cup semi-final didn’t go down too well with the gaffer.”
Gazza often had energy to burn and playing tennis at this point was probably a good way for him to relax and keep his mind active. But he doubted that Sir Bobby would agree.
Gazza continued: “I was on the court and I could hear this gruff voice shouting ‘Gazza, Gazza’. I thought ‘I’m in trouble now’.
“Bobby Robson would knock on my door if he thought I was up too late playing tennis. I’d tell Chris Waddle, as I roomed with him, that if he heard a knock on the door, it was sure to be Bobby Robson and to tell him I’m asleep.
“Sure, enough there was a knock on the door. ‘Gazza, where is he?’ Chris would reply ‘He’s sleeping, Boss’. “Sleeping, sleeping, I’ve been told he’s been playing tennis for the last two hours!”
Find out more about this story and more in Italia ’90 Revisited: The Players’ Stories, by Harry Harris, foreword by Paul Gascoigne. Out now, in paperback and Kindle.