Alan Shearer breaks silence on the Paul Gascoigne Euro 96 aeroplane ‘slap’ that inadvertently galvanised Terry Venables’ England squad

 Paul Gascoigne of England (left) practices. Behind him are teammates Alan Shearer (centre) and David Beckham (right) who are waiting their turn during England training at Bisham Abbey in Marlow. Inset picture of Paul Gascoigne pulling a face while chewing gum. With a Cathay Pacific 747 plane on the right of the image
Gazza, Shearer and David Beckham practice set pieces in 1996 (Image credit: Future)

Paul Gascoigne was asleep. In all likelihood, in recovery mode following his 29th birthday celebrations that marked the end of England’s Euro ‘96 warm-up games in China and Hong Kong.

England were flying home. The previous night had been spent in Hong Kong’s Jump club where famously the centrepiece was a dentist's chair in which patrons stars sat prone, and alcohol was poured down their throats. 

Some of England’s squad took part. Photos made the front page of the tabloids (“I only went in for a filling,” Paul Gascoigne later quipped to FFT), and it was generally bad look for the team back home on the eve of a major tournament. 

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Matthew Ketchell
Deputy Editor

A former goalkeeper, Ketch joined FourFourTwo as Deputy Editor in 2022 having worked across ChronicleLive, LeedsLive, Hull Daily Mail, YorkshireLive, Teesside Gazette and the Huddersfield Examiner as a Northern Football Editor. Prior to that he was the Senior Writer at BBC Match of the Day magazine. He has interviewed the likes of Harry Kane, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gareth Southgate and attended two World Cup finals and two Champions League finals. He has been a Newcastle United season ticket holder since 2000 and has a deep knowledge on the history and culture of football shirts.