He may only have been a Rangers player for three years but in that time Paul Gascoigne created enough memories and won more trophies than most players do in their whole career while also ensuring he would forever be an Ibrox legend in the eyes of the thousands who flocked to see him play each week.
On July 10 1995 Rangers broke their previous transfer record to bring Gazza to Glasgow providing the Light Blue legions with a new hero as well as acquiring the services of a player who had not just become a global superstar but still had plenty to offer on the pitch too.
There were those who questioned the wisdom of signing Gascoigne due to his history of injuries, on-field disciplinary problems and off-field skirmishes, with many feeling that his best days were now well behind him.
But manager Walter Smith was willing to give the former Newcastle, Tottenham and Lazio man a new lease of life after his time in Italy had become something of a nightmare and during a chance meeting on holiday in Florida he ran the idea past the England man.
Smith had earmarked the hero of Italia ‘90 to bring extra flair to his Rangers squad which was already well-stocked with supreme talent, including Andy Goram, Richard Gough, Ally McCoist and Brian Laudrup; all he needed to do now was to get him to sign on the dotted line.
“I read in a newspaper that Gascoigne was leaving Lazio,” Smith later recalled. “I had met him on holiday the year before in Florida. He was in the same hotel. When I sat down with the chairman I said, ‘Look, we’ve got an opportunity here’”. The chairman got in touch with the president at Lazio.
“It was the end of the season so I got on a flight to Rome, the people at Lazio gave me his address. He stayed in the hills outside Rome. I just got a taxi and went up and doorstepped him."
The scenes that greeted the announcement of Gazza’s record-breaking £4.3 million signing were quite remarkable with thousands of fans turning out at Ibrox in the summer sun to greet a man who was at the height of his fame – bleached blonde hair and all.
And any concerns that the Geordie was still able to cut it at the highest level were soon eased when he quickly endeared himself to the Rangers faithful with a goal against arch rivals Celtic just weeks into his first season as a Ger in which he would score 19 times in total.
In his three seasons with Rangers Gascoigne’s silky skills would contribute to the team winning a Scottish Cup, a League Cup and two league titles; not just any titles, Rangers’ eighth and ninth in a row as they finally overhauled Celtic’s long-standing domestic record.
The day Rangers won eight-in-a-row versus Aberdeen was arguably Gazza’s finest moment in light blue as a scooped finish, a curling effort into the top corner after a mesmerizing run and a coolly taken penalty secured a hat-trick in a stunning 3-1 win.
“We wanted to win the league that day at Ibrox,” remembers Gers legend John Brown. “It was a bit of magic from Gascoigne, and I don’t think there was anyone else on the park that could have produced that sort of quality.”
Gascoigne eventually left Rangers in 1998 when he joined Bryan Robson’s Middlesbrough for £3.45 million but in his time at the club he had made plenty of friends while also providing some of the greatest moments of an often injury-plagued career; ensuring his place as a genuine Ibrox Icon.