Gascoigne gets a kick out of TV crew

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The Independent Online
Paul Gascoigne, the under-fire England midfield player, was up to his old tricks again yesterday when he booted a peace offering from a television crew straight into a lake.

Gascoigne was visiting Sheryl Kyle and their baby, Regan, at their Hertfordshire home when the cameramen arrived. For once, the Rangers midfielder did play ball.

Clearly smarting from weekend reports that he ran out of energy in the second half of England's 1-1 draw with Switzerland, he told the TV crew who were playing around with a football: "One against one with any of you, why not?"

They then lobbed their ball at the pounds 4m midfielder - presumably expecting him to demonstrate his skills. But, with his first touch, he skied it into a nearby lake before glaring at his inquisitors and driving off.

His lawyer, Mel Stein, explained Gascoigne's mood by claiming, somewhat improbably: "A lot of people had decided on the headlines whatever happened on Saturday. Even if Paul scored five goals, the headlines would have been the same."

n Glen Kirton, the tournament director of Euro 96, yesterday rebuffed suggestions that stay-away supporters are threatening the success of the Championship. Old Trafford was well short of its 55,300 capacity on Sunday, with a crowd of 37,300 watching Germany's 2-0 win over the Czech Republic. Just 24,006 fans saw the 1-1 draw between Spain and Bulgaria at Elland Road - a stadium which has a capacity of 39,000. Kirton still insists that tickets sales have easily outstripped original predictions and that Sunday's attendances in Manchester and Leeds were not unexpected.

n A punter stands to win pounds 1m if Italy and Spain reach the final. The biggest single bet so far taken by Ladbrokes was placed by a customer in London, who bet pounds 50,000 at 20-1.

n ITV's audience for England's opening game against Switzerland on Saturday was 10 million.

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