England football legend Paul Gascoigne is currently appearing on Italy’s version of I’m a Celebrity – and the former Lazio midfield dynamo is doing okay so far as he has survived the first round of elimination.
Having spent several years with the sky blue side of Rome in the early nineties, Gascoigne is still idolised by the Lazio Ultras – so much so that they intend to make their former hero the King of the Jungle.
Gazza, who won the hearts of his new public immediately on arrival in the Italian capital in 1992 when he burped into a reporters microphone, is reported to be wooing Italian TV audiences with his unusual brand of British humour.
And the tifosi who once worshipped Gascoigne from the Curva Nord now plan to rig the voting lines to ensure their former hero will be the last one standing in the final shake-up.
Lazio’s hardcore support have also pleaded with the Italian football association to back their campaign as it would be “good for the game in Italy now all of their teams have been knocked out of the Champions League”, though a spokesperson for the football authorities furiously denied any involvement in the scheme.
“It’s ludicrous – Italian football has always prided itself on its honesty and integrity,” he said, before confirming that former Juve coach Giovanni Trappatoni would be a “special guest referee” for each of his old club’s remaining Serie A fixtures this season.
The Lazio fans are also desperate for their former player to win is that the show, because it is presented by the wife of Roma icon Francesco Totti, Ilary Blasi – and so is club president Claudio Lotito if reports are to be believed.
The combustible 63-year-old, who makes Donald Trump look like Phillip Scholfield, was incensed that the broadcasters would ask the wife of the man who made his life a living hell for 15 years to be its anchor, knowing that Gazza was going to be one of the contestants.
“How would Roma fans feel if Paolo Di Canio was at the helm? Eh?” he’s reported to have said.
Despite his concerns, the former Tottenham midfielder may not need the help of Biancocelesti fans, with an early straw poll showing him among the favourites to win thanks to no belching incidents or impromptu break-outs into “Fog on the Tyne”.
We contacted some Lazio fans who reside in the Eternal City and they backed this up.
“We’re disappointed that Gazza had not brought a pair of fake breasts with him, but it shouldn’t matter as there’s enough tits on I’m A Celeb already,” Giuseppe D’Azzurri said.
And the real winners could be the owners of off-licences in Lazio supporting strongholds with reports claiming that since Gazza arrived in Italy for a two-week isolation period before flying out to Honduras to begin filming, sales of Newcastle Brown Ale had sky-rocketed.
We tracked down a couple of shopkeepers who confirmed that bottles of the famous Geordie nectar were flying off the shelves across the nation.
“We haven’t seen demand like this since Signor Gazza scored the equaliser in the Rome derby in 1992,” one claimed.
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