Glasgow welcomes Gascoigne
Tuesday 11 July 1995
After three troubled years in the Eternal City playing for Lazio, Paul Gascoigne arrived in Glasgow yesterday and said Rangers would "put the smile back on my face". The 28-year-old England international returned to British football when he signed a pounds 4.3m contract with the Ibrox club. The three-year deal makes him the most expensive and the highest-paid footballer in the history of the Scottish game.
Some 1,000 fans - many sporting the player's peroxide blonde crew cut - turned out to welcome him. They said Gascoigne would help make Rangers "not only one of Europe's best supported and wealthiest clubs, but also one of the best."
Beset by injury problems in Italy, Gascoigne told a press conference that he felt "very fit" and "couldn't wait" to start playing. His first game - unlikely to be a full 90 minutes - will be against Brondby in a pre-season tournament in Denmark next week. His home debut will come at the Rangers International Tournament on 29 July.
Following speculation that he might make an 11th-hour move to Manchester United, Gascoigne confirmed that he had had talks with several English clubs, but had decided to move north of the border because Rangers was "a massive club with a huge following and a lot of top-class players." The midfielder will play alongside the Danish international Brian Laudrup, the French star Basile Boli and England's Mark Hateley.
"Some great England players have come here in the past like Ray Wilkins, Chris Woods and Terry Butcher. I want to follow in their footsteps," he said. Asked if he would recapture the form he showed in the 1990 World Cup and during his four years at Tottenham, he said: "Yes and more. I've hardly played in the past three years. I still feel 25. I've come here to enjoy my football."
Sitting alongside Gascoigne at Ibrox, the Rangers manager, Walter Smith, struggled to make himself heard above the chants of the fans who had lined the streets outside the stadium. Smith said that he would build a team around Gascoigne, whom he described as "one of the best midfield players in Europe". Compared with the pounds 7m United paid for Andy Cole, or the pounds 8.5m Liverpool put up for Stan Collymore, Smith said that if Gascoigne fulfilled his potential, the record deal could turn out to be the "best bargain" in Rangers' history.
David Murray, the Rangers' chairman, predicted that Gascoigne would help the Ibrox side win a record 10 consecutive Scottish League championships and win through to the final rounds in European competition. "That's where our ambitions lie," he said.
The signing will give a much-needed fillip to the Scottish game, which has been in the doldrums in recent years after poor performances by club sides in Europe and the national team's failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup. Gascoigne said yesterday he was "fed up with people putting down Scottish football." He would, he said, "talk and play it up".
Latest in Sport
Commonwealth Games 2014 Opening Ceremony: Ewan McGregor launches Unicef charity fundraiser, making £2.5m in one night
Manchester United transfer news: Arturo Vidal subject of £39m bid
Sami Khedira, Isco and Angel di Maria among Real Madrid players up for grabs this summer
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers (and giant cans of Irn Bru) welcome in Glasgow's Games
Louis van Gaal gets tough with Manchester United players, with Darren Fletcher and Luke Shaw berated in public and Phil Jones left looking bemused
- 1 I was a Woman Against Feminism too
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 4 The Tory donor whose firm is one of Britain’s biggest tax avoiders - with HMRC's blessing
- 5 John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
£20000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Company...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My Client are a successful software hous...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This really is a fantastic chance to joi...
£45000 - £53000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: **MS DYNAMICS N...