Football legend Paul Gascoigne says while there are many things in his life he regrets – he would repeat the good bits “in the blink of an eye”.
But his sister Anna says she wishes he had never made it to the top – and just enjoyed a quiet life in Newcastle.
In a new BBC documentary, Gazza, she says: ‘What would it have been like if Paul had been an average footballer, just playing for an average team, not playing for England and just enjoying his job and continuing?
“I wish that had happened – really.”
But Paul, 54, says he loved his career – especially the so-called Gazzamania of the 1990s when many considered him the best footballer of his generation.
“I hope they take away the good times I had,” Paul says.
“There are a lot of things that weren’t right or perfect, but when it comes to the past, you can’t change it and you have to take the bad with the good – and the good things I would repeat in one wink.
“It was really moving to watch everything, some things are very hard to watch, but some are great memories with friends.”
The two-part Warts and Everything show Gazza’s drinking problem, his many injuries, and – at its lowest point – the domestic abuse he inflicted on his wife Sheryl, who does not appear in the documentary.
It also traces the media’s pursuit of him, capturing rows and drinking bouts.
“I had a lot of media so it was a pressure. The fans also gave us a lot of attention, but to be honest, I didn’t mind. And when it comes to Gazzamania, he has only fond memories.
He says, “I loved it. Opening shops, turning on the lights of London, recording Fog on the Tyne, doing commercials. I enjoyed every minute and was always performing well on the pitch.
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His greatest moment came with the World Cup in Italy in 1990. “I had the best time playing football with my friends, I was probably the fittest I’ve ever been,” says- he.
And his worst moments came when he was unable to play. “Wounds, they killed us,” he said simply.
Producer Vaughan Sivell said he hoped the films, which are told through archived interviews with those who knew him best, would show the star in a “new light”.
“A lot of Paul’s career was lived in the public eye, it was like he was the original reality show,” Sivell said.
The take-home message from the films, which end in 1998 and don’t cover Gazza’s later years, was “don’t get insanely famous,” he said.
The BBC will broadcast Gazza later this year.
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