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'It’s just sad that Gazza is struggling so badly' - Dion Dublin

The former England international was talking about his old friend during a trip to Ireland yesterday.

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Gascoigne and Dublin on England duty in 1998. Credit: Michael Steele/EMPICS Sport

DION DUBLIN HAS nothing but sympathy for former team-mate Paul Gascoigne but insists that it is up to footballers to plan for life outside the game.

The ex-Manchester United, Aston Villa and Norwich striker, who was also comfortable at centre-back, made a successful exit from professional sport when he hung up his boots in 2008. Having already gained experience working in the media, Dublin also went about setting up a number of business ventures.

Today, he owns a shop-fitting company, manages indie band The Establishment and sells a percussion drum he invented, called ‘The Dube.’ That is all on top of his punditry work for the BBC, Premier League TV and MUTV.

“It’s something I had prepared for,” the 44-year-old said during yesterday’s Setanta Sports media event in Dublin.

You have to because it’s really difficult if you come out of the game and you haven’t prepared yourself for the big wide world, you can fall over as there are lots of things there that can trip you up.

“I think I did an okay job. I started doing a bit of work with the BBC and Sky three years before I retired to get used to people sticking a mic in my face. It has helped me.”

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Dublin in Dublin yesterday. Credit: Dave Maher/SPORTSFILE

Many former pros have not been as lucky as Dublin and just last night, ITV aired a documentary on Paul Gascoigne’s ongoing battle with alcoholism. The pair were England team-mates in the late 90s and Dublin says he looked up to one of his generation’s most talented players.

“It’s really difficult,” he adds. “We’re all men and women in the professional game and you’ve got have a strong personality to be able to prepare yourself. It’s about getting the right people around you – a decent manager or agent, good family members etc.

“You’ve got to make decisions that are going to be good for you when you leave the game. Many players haven’t done that and there are some who have made the wrong choices. You know the ones we’re talking about that are having a stinking time of it.

“I was with Gazza in the 1998 World Cup training camp and the guy was an absolute genius.

I got megs on him (put the ball through his legs) and I thought I had won the World Cup because having watched him train, he was doing things that I had never seen before. It was a privilege to be on the same pitch as him.

“Now seeing him away from the game and having a few beers you think ‘how can you be so good but also be so stupid by ruining what you had?’.

“It’s just sad that he is struggling so badly. He’s a great great bloke and I wish him all the best.”

Watch an clip from last night’s documentary below:


YouTube credit: news wah8

This season has witnessed several developments in how football is analysed on our television screens. The arrival of BT Sport has forced Sky Sports to improve their coverage while Match of the Day brought in several new pundits after much criticism that the highlights programme has become dated.

I think it’s a good thing. It’s like with a squad of players when a new player who is as good as you comes in, you’ve got to up your game.

“BT have done that. Without being a cliché, it seems to be a channel in transition. They’re only around a matter of months. Then rest have got to up their game and it’s good because it keeps people on their toes.”

Dion Dublin was in Ireland to promote the Setanta Sports Pack, which will broadcast five Manchester United games between 28 September and 1 December. For more information visit Setanta.com

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Ben Blake

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