Wilson’s Wisdom: Opinions rekindle Gazza memories

Paul Gascoigne
Paul Gascoigne
Pompey midfielder Carl Baker Picture: Joe Pepler

What we learnt from Pompey’s draw with Walsall

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Regular readers of this column – I know you are out there somewhere – might have seen last week’s offering.

Basically, it was me moaning about people moaning (unjustifiably in my eyes) about our publication of Andy Awford’s recent interview.

Somewhat predictably, it got moaned at.

If you read some of the opinions that were posted beneath it on the website at portsmouth.co.uk (there might be some more below this one when it goes online), its contents had former journalist Mike Neasom turning in his grave – a man I had the privilege to meet when I was on work experience at The News many moons ago.

But apparently my piece also cost us a valued reader, while it also lost me all respect I had gained from someone else – although I don’t know if I have ever actually met that person.

According to another post, it was even a ‘sad attempt at media manipulation’.

And there was me thinking it was just an opinion piece.

Right, wrong, ludicrous, insightful, deluded or simply something to discuss?

Or none of the above.

Whatever the final verdict, it’s surely just not that important to get too upset or angry about – it’s just one bloke’s point of view.

In a similar vein, I happened to hear a radio discussion about whether Lionel Messi was the best footballer of all time after his epic performance for Barcelona in their win over Bayern Munich.

One caller from north of the border genuinely felt that Kenny Dalglish was a better player.

It was an opinion which made me laugh out loud and probably made me look a bit stupid to anyone who saw me in my car waiting at the traffic lights.

But it didn’t make me want to punch the radio or feel I was being manipulated because I disagreed.

I saw the tail end of Dalglish’s career at Liverpool on TV and he was a very good player but he was not in Messi’s class.

Perhaps I just missed him in his absolute prime.

Messi is the best I have seen on TV but one bloke who didn’t get a mention in the part of the discussion I heard was the best I have seen in the flesh – and it was at Fratton Park, but sadly he was playing for the opposition.

Back in 1991, Paul Gascoigne was at the height of his powers after his breakthrough World Cup for England the previous summer.

In the fifth-round clash, he took Pompey apart single-handedly, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win.

In front of 26,000, he was unplayable that day and dominated the game in a way I hadn’t seen before. He was simply too good for a gutsy Pompey side.

A couple of months later, he wrecked his knee in the FA Cup final and was never the same.

Yes, he had his moments and the goal against Scotland in Euro 96 is still perhaps my favourite moment watching England.

I’ve only seen clips of Pelé, Diego Maradona was special but Messi is a level above that – in my view.

Gascoigne should have been that good as well, had his off-field behaviour and lifestyle been kept in check.

I’m sure people will disagree.

Then again, football is all about opinions eh?