Anorak

Anorak | Daft Brush Off

Daft Brush Off

by | 24th, July 2002

‘SO almost farewell Paul Gascoigne – belcher, Mars bar enthusiast and woman beater. Gazza’s off to ply his unique brand of football at DC United, a less than household name in the United States.

The star wears the stripes

For those of you who went to school with Ian Draper (the former Aston Villa star who once stated a desire to play in Italy for Barcelona), DC play in Washington DC, District of Columbia. (And yes, Ian, that is the Colombia that’s in South Africa).

Gazza and his agent Ian Elliot plan to fly to the US today. On Friday, the pair will watch DC train, then see them play on Saturday. After that, Gazza will train with the DC squad on the following Monday and Tuesday.

Come Wednesday, Gazza will know what he wants to do. And the chances are very high that he will remain in the camp. But why? Elliot explains: ‘He’s always wanted to play in the States and it’s a standard of football he will be comfortable in.’

No joke. Football in the States is a standard of football George Best – and that’s the current Bart Simpson-hued George Best – would be ‘comfortable with’. The national side did do fairly well in the World Cup – as well as England did – but the overall level is average at best.

Anyone doubting that might like to consider Elliot’s assertion that Gazza will need just a few training sessions before he’s ready to play six or seven games of the remaining season. He will then, as Elliot continues, be ready to take a full part in the 2003 campaign.

Those of us who have watched Gazza deteriorate over the past decade hazard a guess that the daft one will be fit to play seven or so games in 2003, and for the rest of this season be best employed as a T-shirt autographer and forgetful cheerleader. (‘Give us a D! Give us a C! Put them all together and what do you have?’ ‘CD!’)

DC’s coach Ray Hudson might be unaware what he is getting. It’s hard not to imagine a meeting similar to Marlowe’s coming together with Kurtz in the dark heart of the Congolese jungle.

‘You’re a legend,’ says Marlowe-Hudson. ‘The Gazza! The Gazza! The Gazza!’ mumbles the bedraggled, bloated figure as he collapses in a heap, his old Tottenham fatigues worn ragged by years of neglect.

But Gazza won’t care much about reputation, an image that was dealt a low blow when Sheryl got on the wrong end of his ready banter. And Gazza will arrive, and, one imagines, stick out his tongue, bare his backside and all in all perform in the mode of some buffoonish character who owes too much to two other British exports to the US – Mr Bean and Benny Hill.

Thankfully, the DC official website includes not only a list of players’ names but a guide to how their names should be pronounced, thus saving Gazza further embarrassment.

In America, saying Bryan Namoff (‘Bryan is always fired up and enthusiastic. His go-go attitude is his main strength. Bryan is still refining his overall game, but is very eager to compete and learn’ – Ray Hudson) any way other than ‘NAME-off’ is an incitement to class action.

So Gascoigne (‘GASS-coin’) it is. And Gascoigne it will always be. Just not here, and not quite what he once was. And to think, he’s only 35 – three years younger than David Seaman. ‘



Posted: 24th, July 2002 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink