Gazza’s ‘weird’ game left room full of holes and had one key rule for teammate

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Paul Gascoigne invented a "weird" game that could last for hours and left a room peppered with holes – but he wouldn't let his teammate leave until it was finished.

Gazza's game apparently involved two snooker cues being propped up against a wall. Whoever was playing had to bowl at them, cricket style, with a snooker ball.

The aim was to snap the cues with the ball.

READ MORE: Man Utd hero found out who snitched about night out to 'flapping' Fergie 30 years later

But there was one strict rule that Gazza was sure to enforce. No one could leave the room to go to bed until the cues were snapped – even if that took hours.

And the night before a cup final was no exception.

Craig Hignett roomed with Gazza in a hotel for three nights before Middlesbrough's League Cup Final against Chelsea in March 1998.

Gazza had only just signed from Rangers for £3.5m and was yet to play a game for the Teessiders, while Hignett was facing the axe from Bryan Robson's starting line-up for stalling on signing a new contract.

Uncomfortable with the idea of taking Hignett's place in the side, Gazza invited his fellow midfielder to room with him – and it was a memorable experience.

Hignett told the Undr The Cosh podcast: "We had a game of snooker – that was weird.

"We played for hours then to finish the game, we put two snooker cues up at the end of the wall and bowled the white ball at the snooker cues.

"But to go out of the room, we had to snap these two snooker cues with the white ball as we were bowling.

"We started bowling at, like, 10 o’clock. Have you ever tried to snap a snooker cue bowling with a billiard ball? Unless you hit it perfect, it ain’t going anywhere. You’ll hit it and it’ll fall.

"And there were holes all around this room when I first walked in. Hundreds of them, if not thousands, and it’s a bit weird but I’d said to him earlier, ‘Look at all these holes,’ and he went, ‘Yeah, I’ll show you after.’

"And this was the game that he played in this room when he was with England, but every now and again he’d move the snooker cues around so he didn’t make one massive hole.

"So when you snap a cue, you can move onto the next one. We snapped the two of them and he just threw them under the bench. And then out of the room."

Gazza, who's spoken openly about suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), apparently convinced himself there would be consequences if they left the room before they'd completed the game.

Hignett continued: "If you didn’t finish it, something bad would happen, so you had to stay in there until you’d done it. Two-and-a-half hours. Sweat was coming off me.

"Listen, we’ve got a cup final and you’re looking at half one at night, we’re walking around the halls or the corridors and I’m thinking, if Robbo sees us here, we’re dead.

"But we couldn’t leave until it was done."

Podcast co-host Jon Parkin asked if he was worried about the potential repercussions of damaging the wall.

Hignett replied: "I said to him, ‘What’ll happen there?’ He said, ‘Oh, they’ll come and they’ll take the cues, they always do.’ It wasn’t the first time he’d done it."

Boro lost the final 2-0, with Gazza coming on as a second half substitute.

Gazza, whose other clubs had included Newcastle, Tottenham, Lazio and Rangers, went on to play for Everton, Burnley, Gansu Tianma and Boston United.

Describing him as "brilliant", Hignett added that he was "so generous".

Recalling another incident during the three days they roomed together, he said they had gone shopping one day in a nearby village and ended up playing pool in a pub.

When they came out into the car park, some children who were playing football recognised Gazza.

He said: "He’s gone over, ‘Give us a kick of the ball, lads.’ They kick him the ball and he gets this ball and he launches it about 50 gardens over and the lads are looking at the ball as it…and they’re looking at him like, what’s he just done?

"Anyway, he’s pulled out a 20 or a 50, I think it was, and said to the lads, ‘Go and buy another one and some sweets.’

"If he ever thought he’d upset you or embarrassed you, he’d be devastated. He just wanted to make you laugh and other people laugh."

  • Paul Gascoigne
  • Middlesbrough FC
  • Newcastle United FC
  • Tottenham Hotspur FC
  • Everton FC
  • Burnley FC
  • Rangers FC

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