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Feb 3, 2013

Gazza agent: He needs to get help

Paul Gascoigne's agent Terry Baker admits he is fearful for the former England midfielder's life after he started drinking again.

Gascoigne, 45, has been dealing with alcoholism since retiring from the game and was sectioned five years ago under the Mental Health Act.

After many high-profile incidents, Gascoigne's most recent breakdown appeared at a charity appearance in Northampton on Thursday where he appeared to be unwell and trembling, while he broke down in tears and slurred his words during the £100-a-head event.

Baker told BBC Radio Five: "He won't thank me for saying but he needs to immediately get help. Whatever's happened to him in the five or six weeks since I saw him before Christmas, he is not as well as he has been.

"He's been absolutely fine, he really has, and now he isn't. But I think he knows that. His life is always in danger because he is an alcoholic. Maybe no-one can save him - I don't know. I really don't know.''

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has vowed to help Gascoigne all he can.

"We have tried to support him throughout all his problems with rehabilitation at various clinics, with medical help,'' Taylor said. "We are in regular touch with him and have been again.

"We go one step forward and two back at times and this is just the situation. If we are not careful, it is going to be akin to George Best. It is unfortunate, but we try to keep going.''

As the Sun published a video of Gascoigne's charity appearance, former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel called on the PFA to step up and help the ex-Newcastle, Tottenham, Lazio and Rangers playmaker.

Schmeichel wrote on Twitter: "This is not fun watching. Gazza needs help. Come on PFA & (PFA chief executive) Gordon Taylor, time to step up.

"We are all responsible for how we live our lives. But that doesn't mean we can't step in and help, and I think the footballing community, as the family we at times claim to be, must do more to help Gazza and others like him.

"Instead of getting great deals on cars & other luxury goods for members, PFA should commit more time and funds to help the like of Gazza. So what if he's had help before and has messed it up, does that mean that we just give up on him?

"What really gets me here is people. Everyone close to him was looked after by him. Now he's abandoned by the lot and in many ways they helped him becoming what he is today. He needs help, they should be there to provide that for him, regardless.''

Reacting to those comments, Taylor said: "I can't think of a player who has had more support and constant help over the number of years that we have been there for Paul. It is quite ironic - it is nice that people like Peter Schmeichel care about him, but they don't appreciate the work we have done for him, a lot of which has to be confidential.

"If anything, I have been criticised at times for keeping faith and trying to keep going with him. I offered all our help that he needs. It is just sometimes, it is down to the individual - it is down to him, and he just knows we are here for him whenever he needs us. We are not going to give up on him.

"He still feels he is capable of getting back on track and it is a relapse he has had. I can only say, whatever help he needs, he must come on (board) and we will help to provide it. I think he does need specialist care and a very strong 24-hour support system, but again, it needs him to be part of that.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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