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Arsenal and Arsene Wenger paid £50K towards Paul Gascoigne's medical bills

If you want an uplifting story about how football helps take care of its own, here's one.

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Paul Gascoigne is a Tottenham Hotspur and England national team legend. His is also one of the saddest and most cautionary tales in English football history. A dynamic and prolific scorer for both Spurs and England, he was known both on and off the pitch as a prankster. He's also experienced massive struggles with drugs and alcohol both during and after his playing days. Gazza seems to be in treatment more than not these days, and it's horribly sad to watch.

Gazza recently gave quotes to the Sun (hilariously behind a paywall but quotes are reposted in The Metro) about how he was recently sanctioned as part of Britain's Mental Health Act and ordered into treatment. He said that he reached out to his friend Gary Lewin, Arsenal's physio, for help and that Arsenal and Arsene Wenger ended up contributing a total of £50,000 toward his treatment.

"I rang up physio Gary Lewin and told him I wasn't feeling great," Gazza said. "[Lewin] said go to the hospital as he feared it was pneumonia. Wenger then arranged £28,000 to pay for treatment. Arsenal also paid £22,000 when I had hip treatment."

The #hottake on this story is that a former Spurs legend went to their biggest rivals for assistance instead of to his own club, and there's even an anecdote in the story about how Spurs apparently wanted to charge Gazza for tickets to a 2011 Champions League match. How this relates to Gazza's story, apart from trying to smear Spurs, is unclear.

This kind of #hottake reporting is dumb. Football has its rivalries, but it also takes care of its own. That Gascoigne was able to get help from Arsene Wenger and Arsenal says a lot about the generosity of Arsenal and the larger footballing fraternity. The article doesn't say that Spurs were even asked to help with this round of treatment, and Spurs have most certainly given assistance to Gazza during past life struggles. Overlaying a tribalistic and hostile veneer over a club helping out a former England player does a disservice to everyone involved.

Moreover, Gazza isn't exactly the most trustworthy of sources himself. While I have no doubt that what he's saying to the Sun is truth, the context in which it is being reported isn't always accurate and we should take everything with a grain of salt here.

Paul Gascoigne is a tragic character who is struggling mightily with the horrible and debilitating disease of substance abuse and resulting poor health. Spurs fans everywhere should be thanking Arsenal and the entire footballing community for helping Gazza get the help that he needs to keep fighting.