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The FA Cup Fourth Round

Holloway: Learn from Gazza

Ian Holloway has urged football authorities to do more to help players experiencing difficulties in their personal lives.

Last Updated: 26/09/13 at 19:25 Post Comment

Paul Gascoigne: Endured 20-year battle against alcohol addiction

Paul Gascoigne: Endured 20-year battle against alcohol addiction

The Crystal Palace boss admitted he was moved to tears by the recent television documentary on Paul Gascoigne's 20-year battle against alcohol addiction.

Holloway was the QPR manager in 2003 when outgoing PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle also battled alcoholism, and he believes players must be given more help to conquer any off-field problems.

"It is the pressures of this world and being in the limelight," Holloway said. "It is learning to deal with that. I don't know if anyone saw the programme on Gazza the other night, but I was in floods of tears myself.

"I don't blame him for that. It is just awful. He can't go anywhere, can't do anything, doesn't know where he is, he doesn't know who he is. We all love him to bits, don't we? It is like George Best all over again.

"I think us football people have a duty to make sure our young lads don't get like that. It is heartbreaking to see him like that. We all wish him well.

"That is a problem, not the score in a football game.

"Let the football family get hold of someone like that and make sure we help as much as we can."

Carlisle confronted his problems and went on to be appointed chairman of the PFA in November 2010, a role he will hand over to Ritchie Humphreys in November.

Holloway added: "Surely we have got to put things in place to not let those sorts of things happen and help people as they are going through it?

"Football has a duty to be like that, particularly with the limelight everybody gets now, the coverage of it. Football is so popular, it has become a monster.

"We have to help them learn how to deal with all of this."

Holloway helped set Carlisle on the road towards recovery at the Sporting Chance clinic and would welcome such direct intervention across the board.

"I just don't know if there is enough support there to help as their learning," Holloway said. "I think it is the clubs. Manchester United under Sir Alex (Ferguson) were fantastic at it.

"He checked everybody. If you read his books he drove round their houses and kicked doors in and made sure they behaved themselves.

"I am just talking about trying to get things right with the support network for these players.

"I watched Clarke Carlisle a few weeks ago in that wonderful programme, where he opened up about his problems.

"Everybody thinks 'they are spoilt', but it is not an easy life. Let's try to put things in place, with all this money in the game, to make sure we can help the people who go through these things."

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