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Paul Gascoigne: 'Cops warned me of IRA car bomb threats... I s**t myself'

Cops refused to arrest provo who threatened Gazza

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IBROX IDOL: Paul Gascoigne imitates Ulster’s Orangemen

IBROX IDOL: Paul Gascoigne imitates Ulster’s Orangemen

IBROX IDOL: Paul Gascoigne imitates Ulster’s Orangemen

Paul Gascoigne has lifted the lid on the three months of hell he endured under IRA death threat for his infamous "flute-playing" antics at an Old Firm clash.

The ex-Rangers star says he was told by cops Provos were going to use explosives to blow up his car or his mail.

And Gazza revealed police knew the identity of an Irish-based terrorist who issued a death threat against him - but refused to arrest him until he came to England.

The 53-year-old provoked fury when he wound up the crowd at Parkhead by mimicking Orange marchers playing the Sash on a flute and was fined £20,000 by Rangers.

Former England, Lazio, Spurs and Newcastle midfielder Gazza pulled the controversial stunt twice in his time playing for Walter Smith's team, against Steaua Bucharest in 1995 and then against bitter rivals Celtic as the Gers won 2-0 in the New Year derby in 1998.

He claimed he was forced into the stunt at Parkhead at gun-point when he was in the loo at 2am.

He said: "I went to the toilet in the dark, it must have been about 2 o'clock.

"I touched the door handle and the next thing I know, I've got someone with their hand round my neck and a gun to my head. He just said, 'If you score, do the Sash'."

In a new interview about the fallout from the incident he told how he woke to see controversy over his flute-playing gestures splashed across the front pages and rang his dad in a panic.

Gazza added: "I said, 'Dad, I'm not in the back pages, I'm on the front pages - the IRA are going to kill us'. He just giggled. He said, 'You'll be alright'."

But the sportsman then said he got a letter with a death threat and called cops as it contained a would-be hitman's name, telephone number and home address.

Fodder

He added: "The police came and I said, 'Have you seen this letter? The guy left his name, number, home address and said he's going to kill us.

"The police said, 'Yeah, he's going to kill you'.

"So they went and saw him - I waited, and two days I stayed indoors. I was s******g myself.

"The police came back and I said, 'Did you see him?' and they said, 'Yeah'.

"I said, 'Is he going to kill us?' And they said, 'Yeah'.

"I said, 'What are you going to do about it?' and they said, 'Nothing, until he comes into our country, we're not going to anger him yet'."

Gazza then spent three months fearing parcels to his home contained bombs and that his car would explode when the ignition was turned after cops told him to be on the lookout for booby traps.

The footballer confessed he started using his long-time pal Jimmy 'Five Bellies' Gardner as unwitting IRA fodder.

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With his best mate Jimmy ‘Five Bellies’

With his best mate Jimmy ‘Five Bellies’

With his best mate Jimmy ‘Five Bellies’

He added: "I used to check my car when I packed up and it went on for a few months - I was s******g myself.

"The police came at 6am and said, 'Check under your car for bombs', and I said, 'What, when the car starts up?' And they said, 'Yeah'.

"I went, 'F*****g hell', and they said, 'Be careful with your mail - if you open it, it could explode in your face', and I was, like, really careful.

"I used to get my mate Jimmy, who drove me to work, and I used to wait until Jimmy started the car up and see if it blew up.

"I waited three metres away and said, 'Jimmy, start the car up', and he was, 'What are you doing?', and I waited to see if it blew up."

Gazza said his nightmare didn't end until the republican who had originally threatened to kill him in a letter wrote to him again saying he was letting him off the hook.

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At the George Best mural in east Belfast

At the George Best mural in east Belfast

At the George Best mural in east Belfast

The footballer - who has spent decades battling his drink demons - added: "I got a letter back from him, and he said, 'You've waited a while, I'll let you go now."

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