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Paul Gascoigne filmed 'singing along to sectarian song' in Scotland

By Allan Preston

Former Rangers and England football star Paul Gascoigne has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons again after he was caught on camera apparently singing sectarian songs.

Gascoigne had been regaling around 1,000 fans with stories of his footballing years at an event at a leisure centre in Irvine in western Scotland.

As he was leaving the stage, Gascoigne was singing along with the audience to Tina Turner's hit Simply The Best - a song popular with Rangers supporters.

During a gap in the music, fans can be heard singing a sectarian chant that includes the words "F*** the Pope and the IRA".

At this point Gascoigne - who earned 57 caps during his England career - appears to sing along and smile from the stage, before a woman comes to usher him away.

It was also reported that during the evening a number of audience members egged on the troubled former star to sing, chanting "Gazza, Gazza give us The Sash", something others present appeared irritated by.

There were no arrests after the evening, but one of those singing boasted on Twitter afterwards.

"Went to the Gazza night, sung the Sash, The Billy Boys, Follow Follow and The Cry Was No Surrender and never got jailed. Result."

During his spell playing for Rangers between 1995 and 1998, Gazza was the subject of a similar furore after he played a mock flute - in a loyalist marching band reference - against Steaua Bucharest.

He repeated the stunt at an Old Firm derby in 1998, angering Celtic supporters.

After his football career ended Gazza has struggled with alcoholism, drugs and mental health problems, but is still fondly remembered by many England and Rangers fans for his abilities on the pitch.

His agent Freda Baker tried to play down the incident.

She said: "Unfortunately, Paul tries to please his fans so he gets himself in difficult situations. It's something we have got to stop because he's getting bad Press."

Ms Baker she was not in the room at the time of the incident and had not heard what Gascoigne was actually singing.

"We have got to be careful because Paul can get carried away," she explained. "His fans put him in difficult situations. We have got to stop that happening."

"It's a shame, because he's getting bad Press for doing it.

"They love to see him, but they are not helping him. He loves to please his fans, but he just gets swept along with it."

Councillor Ian Clarkson, who chairs North Ayrshire Council's Licensing Board, said the event should have been stopped. He added: "Unfortunately, the night highlighted certain problem areas. I believe there was a number of people in the audience who persisted in singing and chanting, and the stewards should have taken action to stop any offensive behaviour."

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