Alan Brazil feared alcoholic Paul Gascoigne could have been ‘next George Best’

Alan Brazil feared Paul Gascoigne could have been the "next George Best" – but the footballer turned radio host insisted he is different because he knows when to stop drinking.

Former Ipswich Town and Manchester United star Brazil is renowned for his heavy drinking sessions but says unlike troubled former England internationals Gazza and Kenny Sansom, he knows when enough is enough.

The radio star recalled an event, during Gazza's drinking days, when said his fears for the alcoholics were heightened when they all appeared at a public speaking event together.

He described Gazza as "a bag of bones" while claiming Sansom was in such a state he slipped under the table to get drunk by himself.

Ex-Tottenham Hotspur forward Brazil said: "When I did an event with Gazza, there wasn't an ounce of flesh on him.

"Kenny Sansom was in such a state he had to leave. It was such a shame.

"People in that situation need medical help but first and foremost they have to help themselves.

"I worry about them ending up like George Best, who was a lovely guy.

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"Something makes you continue going down that path. George tried, it's the same with Gazza.

"People always want to buy him a drink – it's the worst thing you can do.

“I remember once I was with Ray Parlour and saw Kenny sleeping rough. He was a state.

“I wanted to give him some money but Ray said he would only spend it on booze. So we called the Professional Footballer’s Association."

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Best died in 2005 aged 59 after a long history of alcohol abuse.

Gazza, 53, has had his fair share of problems with booze, including many stints in rehab. Earlier this year he revealed he spent £20,000 on anti-alcohol pellets sewn into his stomach that make him sick when he drinks a lot.

But Brazil, 61, says he does not have such problems despite his reputation for being a heavy drinker, which has occasionally resulted in him missing his own radio show.

The former Scotland striker said: "I'm very lucky that I have strong willpower.

"I can go 10 days without drinking but then I'll enjoy the four or five days of revelry when Cheltenham comes around.

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"I've seen booze wreck friends' lives. It's not something to be taken lightly.

"It would also be impossible to do breakfast radio if I was an alcoholic."

One of Brazil's biggest drinking buddies is Ray Parlour, but Brazil admits he can drink the former Arsenal midfielder under the table.

The Talksport presenter added: "He (Parlour) still goes to the gym three times a week and it catches up with him.

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"I always seem to have more staying power.

"There is nowhere near as much drinking in the modern game as there was when I was playing, but I'm sure I would adapt if I was a professional nowadays."

The ex-footballer revealed that even a close brush with death did not bring about any major lifestyle changes.

Brazil almost died on the operating table when he went to see a surgeon about a throat problem in 2014, but claimed it did not make him "re-evaluate" his life.

He said: "Apparently they couldn't stop the bleeding while they were exploring me so they stopped.

"Something bad obviously happened but when your time is up, it's up.

"It was a scare obviously but it didn't bring about any major lifestyle changes. I don't see myself slowing down.

"I've got no cartilage left in my knees from my football career. I know I need to lose weight, but how can I if I can't exercise?

"I recently walked four miles pain free down the beach, that's a big achievement for me."

A spokesman for Kenny Sansom said: "We cannot confirm nor deny this as we are not aware of the event in question."

Representatives for Paul Gascoigne have also been contacted for comment by Daily Star Online.

Brazil's autobiography, Only Here For A Visit, published by Bantam Press, is out now.

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