Grassroots Coaching

The Worst in Football – Vinnie Jones gets up close and friendly with Paul Gascoigne

1988. Vinnie is arguably the biggest bully in a Wimbledon team of thugs and bullies. Wimbledon were not known as the crazy gang for nothing. They play at Plough Lane. Never was a stadium more aptly named. It was small, old-fashioned, intimidating and generally very muddy. This was the arena that served the crazy gang. In 1988 Wimbledon were the smallest and least supported team in Division I. But, whilst they may have been new to the top division and had the worst stadium, they were never going to be intimidated and had a reputation of togetherness, intimidation and on field violence. They also had a very physical and successful style of play and some very effective, underrated players. In fact, in 1988 Wimbledon went on to beat Liverpool one nil in the FA Cup final at Wembley.

On 6 February 1988 Newcastle United were the visitors at Plough Lane. A certain young Paul Gascoigne was making his way in the game and was on his way to stardom. He was always going to be a target for a team like Wimbledon and in particular for Vinnie Jones.

Wimbledon are awarded a free kick. The young, precocious Gascoigne decided to tightly mark Vinnie. There is a coming together of two players. Gascoigne is behind Vinnie, Vinnie steps back, treads on Gascoigne’s toes and reaches behind to grab and squeeze Gazzas testicles.  Gazzas face registers the pain and surprise that I would imagine anyone would feel at that moment. The incident is captured on camera and Vinnie’s notoriety and fame is guaranteed.

To hear Vinnie talk about the incident and to see pictures of Vinnie’s grab and squeeze on Gazza, click on this link.

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