Football fans will be saddened to read that Paul Gascoigne is fighting, what for now at least, is a losing battle with alcoholism. Paul's health problems are not new. They have been widely reported down the years. A much loved footballer in the UK he was one of those players who 'had it all'.
Perhaps Paul had too much success at too young an age.
Whatever went wrong the player has struggled with physical and mental health issues for a number of years. When he is seen, on TV for example, he looks pale and too thin. A shadow of his former self. A haunted man. Paul was in the news when gunman Raoul Moat was on the run from police. Moat was holed up with a weapon when Paul turned up offering to help police. Claiming that he knew Paul, who was not a 'bad guy, according to Paul, he was widely believed to be intoxicated.
The latest news is that Paul is seeking help in the USA. Paul's management company, GamePlan Solutions, issued a statement which read:
"Alcoholic Paul Gascoigne has been experiencing a tough time of late. He has been asking for help and has willingly been admitted to a treatment centre in America. "He has complex issues that are currently being dealt with by professionals. Paul has been extremely touched and overwhelmed by the generous offers of help and support over the past few days.
During Paul's all too brief football career he played for Tottenham Hotspur, Lazio, Newcastle United and England. He famously cried on the pitch when England lost to West Germany in a semi-final in Italy in 1990. This endeared him to fans. He went on to reap financial gain from his 'tears' in a commercial for Walker's crisps, alongside Gary Lineker.
An obviously troubled man, Paul has found it hard to fight his demons. His public battle with alcohol is not dissimilar to the late George Best. No-one wants to see a similar fate befall Paul.
Paul continues to be supported by the Professional Footballers' Association. He still believes that he can sort himself out. The nation will hope the same. Best wishes are sent to Paul and his family. Good luck Gazza.