Gascoigne’s move to Tottenham had made him rich. Not rich like Irving Scholar or Terry Venables, perhaps, but rich enough–for him, for now and for the lads back home in Dunston. Gascoigne had grown up in poverty. Even in Gateshead terms, his family was perceived to be hard-up: four children, father out of work, mother having to do part-time menial jobs. ‘Make me a millionaire,’ Gascoigne told Garvie when the agent first approached him. The Tottenham deal had not quite done that but it had set him on the road. The signing-on fee was said to be 200,000 pounds, the salary around 125,000 a year. In addition there were perks: a house, a car and fat bonuses for good results. Manchester United had been ready to give Gascoigne 5,000 pounds each time he played for England, an offer Spurs no doubt had to top.

‘Yeah, that’s right, I’m going,’ he said, in response to Newcastle fans who called him money-mad, accusations stoked by Newcastle’s manager, Willie McFaul, who had offered Gascoigne the earth and been rebuffed, and by those of his former colleagues who could not resist the tabloid coin. ‘I’m going to a better club, to make more money.’ McFaul suggested that Fattie Gascoigne was riding for a southern fall, and the Newcastle chairman, Stan Seymour, called him ‘George Best without the brains.’ It was an acrimonious parting, and Gascoigne would later be hauled up before the Football Association for verbal retaliation: he ventured to call Seymour ‘clueless’ for having sold him to Spurs when his old contract still had a year to run. Gascoigne could scarcely be blamed for now and then losing his rag. When he said he ‘belonged’ in the North-East, he meant it. He found it hard to accept that the Geordie fans, who’d failed to love him, now saw him as a traitor. He too had been a Geordie fan. He had spent his boyhood dreaming about playing for the Magpies.

I couldn’t believe the fixture list when I first saw it Spurs’ first game of the 1988–89 season was against Newcastle at St James’s Park. When Gascoigne ran on to the field, the crowd bombarded him with frozen Mars Bars: they were on sale outside the ground. Throughout the game they booed and chanted whenever he went near the ball: ‘Fattie’, ‘Judas’, ‘Yuppie’. In those days it was commonplace for visiting London fans to mock the down-at-heel home crowd with lewd songs about unemployment. From the safety of the away-fans’ enclosure they waved thick wads of cash and sent up rhythmic chants: ‘Loadsamoney, Loadsamoney.’ For the Tynesiders, to have Gascoigne owned by such as these was difficult to bear. What was wrong, they wondered, with the loadsamoney that Newcastle had offered him to stay? At St James’s Park that day there seemed to be real hatred in the air. And, as with Vinnie Jones, Gascoigne caved in. He was taken off fifteen minutes before the end, booed all the way. Afterwards, he had to be smuggled out of the back door of his old club.


Newcastle
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