The SFA’s mental health stigma is a national Embarrassment

Adam Llewellyn @adamabysswalker contacted us and he asked for the following article on Paul Gascoigne to be put up.


This week Rangers legend Paul Gascoigne was set to be inducted into the SFA Hall of Fame alongside Scotland Women’s record scorer Julie Fleeting.

However it now appears that the SFA have decided to backtrack on this. Earlier today a story broke that at least one SFA board member was planning to boycott the event, taking issue with Gazza’s nomination for ‘moral reasons’. Since then the story has escalated

Paul’s nomination has now been entirely withdrawn by the SFA and the Hall of Fame committee. A Scottish Football Hall of Fame statement read: “Further to consultation with the chair and members of the Scottish Football Hall of Fame committee, due to a number of factors including ongoing enquiries, and concerns over the state of Paul’s health, it has been decided to withdraw the nomination of Paul Gascoigne at this time from this year’s nomination process

Everyone knows that the midfield maestro is a controversial figure. Despite being one of the most naturally talented footballers of all time Paul was plagued by off field issues.

His addiction has led him to a string of horrific personal events that he knows were morally reprehensible. What most don’t know is that Paul was diagnosed with depression at only 13. This was in 1970, if you think mental health stigma is bad today it was considerably worse back then. Support that’s barely available now wasn’t available at all back then. Gazza tackled it the only way he could. Literally, with the use of his own magic wand: his feet.

Yesterday was World Mental Health Awareness day. Millions of people came together on social media in an effort to support each other and draw attention to the many trials and tribulations people suffer in silence with every day. It is absolutely astounding to me that only the day after the Scottish Football Association could do something this incredibly tone deaf.

This is the same SFA that has hired Malky Mackay, a man with a history that is absolutely no secret.

The SFA and the board members have taken one look at Gazza and decided to see only what they want and not the whole picture. Instead of seeing a man who has battled, made mistakes, atoned, desperately battled again and so on, they see only controversy.

The board can see past Mackay’s diabolical, illegal actions but can’t support one of the most troubled men in footballing history. If we can’t support struggling humans then what can we do?

Surely Paul Gascoigne deserves recognition for the one thing he was absolutely committed to? He has attempted to be an ambassador for mental health in a sport where your mental state is challenged by thousands of passionate supporters on a weekly basis. He has spent a fortune and a fortune again looking for help.

Instead of offering that help the SFA have decided to publicly shame him.

Thanks to the incredibly powerful Rangers support it hasn’t worked. Instead the SFA have publicly shamed themselves. An organisation who will happily support racist and homophobic behaviour but will shun a man with clinical depression.

Gascoigne’s guilt and depression drove him to a suicide attempt in 2008. He was sectioned using the Mental Health Act following this action. This is public knowledge and yet the SFA make have still made this horrendous decision.

If one of the biggest names in Scottish football, potentially the best player to ever grace our countries grounds, can’t get support from the country’s biggest football organisation then who can?

What kind of message does this send other players suffering from mental health issues?

What message does it send young players?

What message does it send the rest of the country, especially when the Scottish Government has doubled down on mental health funding and support?

For the SFA? It sends the embarrassing kind

Adam Llewellyn


Thank you to Adam for his words on yesterday’s ridiculous outcome, for myself I will say the following –

Paul Gascoigne is a Rangers legend and one of the greatest players to ever grace Scotland, ever.

His fragile mental state is a worry to all the Rangers family and this unforgivable public ‘circus’ to someone who suffers the issues Paul does, is nothing short of disgusting quite honestly.

It’s ok not to be ok, unless you are Paul Gascoigne or anything to do with our football club.

The events of 2012 should never be forgotten and it’s things like this that confirm what bitter horrible people surround us.

The HOF is judged on people’s footballing talents and what they did in the game, after all, if it wasn’t then there is more than one that shouldn’t be in there.

Shall we look forward to them being withdrawn now the SFA have found this new Moral compass?

Or is that reserved only as a dig at our club whenever viable?

I think we all know the answer to that

Mental illness should never be used in a lame fashion like this, it IS ok not to be ok. Paul Gascoigne, the Rangers family will always be here for you and you are where it really matters, proudly in the Rangers Hall of Fame at the top of the marble staircase

There’s only one Paul Gascoigne

Ignore the nonsense, the irrelevant and the noise