The scene. An armed stand-off at the end of a weeklong manhunt involving armed officers from fifteen police forces across the UK. Police marksmen have fugitive Raoul Moat surrounded by the Riverbank in the small village of Rothbury. Both media and public alike are being kept at bay by the police. Into the mix comes Gazza. Yes Gazza, former England and Newcastle United football legend who is in a car with a photographer called Terry who has contacted Real Radio where two Alan Partridge types are trying to keep their listeners upto date with what’s happening.
It’s been an unusual week for Gazza after he announced in a gossip mag that The Pope used to ring him for chats. Pope John Paul II and Gazza had apparently shared the services of a security guard who had hooked the two former footballers up. Whilst Gazza had worried about losing his phone with The Pope’s number in it (Gazza’s numbers: Jimmy 5 Bellies, Chrissy Waddle, Barnesy, Gaffer, Chinky, Offy, Popey, Taxi, Kids) he had no fear about entering the scene of an armed siege as he felt he could help.
As strange as this might seem this is the best transcription we could make of Gazza The Peacekeeper’s first phone conversation with the Patridges of Real Radio.
Host: “Stay on line we need to go back to our photographer colleague, Terry. Terry can you hear us? No, Terry can’t hear us I need to press this button here. And I think if I do that (BEEP) Terry will be able to hear us. Hello Terry.”
Terry: Hiya lads.
Host: Hello, now we we ere r er the last we heard from you Gazza had turned up.
Terry: Yeah he’s here with me now in the car. He’s taken away from the area of Rothbury he’s getting a lot of attention as he’s turned up. He thinks obviously he can help Raoul. He knows he can help Raoul.”
Host: Right, is there any chance we could talk to Gazza?
Gazza (in background): I know I can help Raoul, I knew him for years. Can ah call you back in one minute?
Host2: Paul? Paul?
Terry: Hang on he wants to talk to you now. He’s just having a cigarette.
Terry: He’s just lighting a cigarette at the moment, he’ll be with you in a minute. Then he’ll talk to you.
Host: That’s fine, fine. I imagine there’ll be a lot of interest in Gazza and what he might be able to help with it.
Terry: Yeah apparently he knows Raoul.
Gazza (background): He was a doorman in Newcastle.
Terry: He was a doorman in Newcastle he’s telling me.
Host 2: So Gazza believes he can be of assistance, what sort of assistance does he want to give? You are live on Real Radio
Host: Gazza? Gazza? Gazza? Helloo? Gazza?
Host2: Hello Paul
Host: Good evening you are live on Real Radio. I just wonder. Tell us about Raoul Moat. The Raoul Moat that you know.
PG: Raoul Moat, er Raoul I knew him years ago he used to be a bouncer in Newcastle, I knew him a lot of years since I was a young kid, when I play for Newcastle. He was like a gentleman, someone must have wound him up or done sommat, right. And all of a sudden I just listened to the radio right, I mean on TV news. Obviously he’s killed someone and he’s shot two. Right?
PG: Doesn’t matter. He’s killed someone. Which is not nice, really. Obviously he must have been on drugs, errrm, and he’s shot two people right. Now I’ve heard on the news that obviously the drugs must have worn off. Now he’s willing to give in. Right
Host: I think we have to point out that…
PG: No, please, get a hold of me, no, hear me out, he’s a lovely bloke I know that so at the end of the day I think he’s frightened in case, errm, he’s put his gun down, I know for a fact he will he put his gun down but I think he’s scared in case the police shoot him and kill him. The drugs have worn off all he wants to do is surrender. And at the end of the day when you shoot someone, I think, and er, shoot, kill someone and shoot two others. you may get what, twelve days, twelve years, twelve...
Host: Paul, Paul, Paul, well we don’t know about that exactly. But just tell us, what would you say...
PG: Twelve years, could be about six and you’re out. He’s a good lad.
Host: If he could hear a message from you Gazza, what would you say to him tonight?
PG: Well I think the police get hold, Listen, I drove from Newcastle in a taxi to Rothbury, cost a lot of money. I brought a dressing gown for him, I brought a big jacket, I brought some chicken, some bread, I know you’re going to love this one, I brought him a can of lager, I brought him a fishing rod cause I heard he’s by the river. And I brought a fishing rod too, we’ll fish together, I’ll have a chat with him…..just talk and, cause I think I’m the only man…I can help him through this cause I’ve…
Host: So Gazza, are you going to go to the Police and say, let me, let me, let me help you here? I know Raoul Moat. I can help you negotiate. I can help you sort the situation out.
PG: I’ve just spoke to the Police.
Host 2: What did they say Gazza?
PG: That he, well er, er, well…Terry was next to us taking photos and the copper went, police and I said listen, I know the guy, he’s a nice guy, I said err, I want to go through, where you have everything all cordoned off, I want to get through there but the police wouldn’t let us so that was a waste of time saying, oh, I knew him because they were being frightened he might shoot me, you know? But I told them…he will not shoot me.
Host: Well, it’s a dangerous situation though, Gazza, isn’t it?
PG: Hey I’m not scared I’ve just been in a core crash I’ve just hit the wall at 90 miles per hour. I survived that i’m sure I can survive a bullet. Knowing my luck he’d probably miss.
Host: So what you’re saying is that you want to go in there, you want to help negotiate.
PG: …(illegible).. the police know, I want to go in there, I’ve got a jacket, I’ve got a dressing gown, I’ve got some chicken, I’ve got some bread, I’ve got a can of lager, I’ve got a fishing rod, erm, I’ve got my fishing rod, I’m willing to sit down, to shout, “Moaty, it’s Gazza”, all I want to shout is “Moaty it’s Gazza, where are you” and I guarantee he will shout his name out, “I’m here” and me and him could sit and chat, have a little bit of fishing and all I’ll tell him, Moaty. Listen.
Host: And you think you could sort it out?
Host 2: So if you like a man to man chat with him, two pals on a riverbank?
PG: Yeah, yeah, two friends on a riverbank from Newcastle and all those years we’ll say is “Why don’t you just, yer knaa, put the gun down, throw it in the river and say look Moaty, the worst is the worst you might get a twelve year stretch, the police aren’t going to kill you, because I know he’s willing to give in now. Whatever he was on has worn off, I mean the police are not going to kill you, he might do a twelve year stretch, obviously for killing someone, which is not very nice obviously he did it cause he was high on drugs probably right.
Host: Paul, have you been in touch with him recently?
PG: For good behaviour he’d get out after six years.
Host: Paul, have you been in touch with him recently?
PG: Have I been in touch with him recently? No, cause I’ve been in hospital.
Host: When did you last talk to him?
PG: Well, er, I see him, I spoke to him about a year and a half ago when he was in Newcastle.
Host: And when you spoke to him then how was he?
PG: How was he? Sound as a bell. Nowt wrong with him.
Host: Gazza thank you very much for being with us tonight.
PG: He’s a bouncer, he’s a good lad, he’s a hard guy…he’s a gentleman but it’s not nice when your ex-girlfriend, well his girlfriend ran off with another guy.
Host: Gazza thank you for being with us, we wish you well in your efforts to bring this situation to a peaceful resolution.
PG: Do me a favour, do wish Moaty well, he’ll be alright.
Host: I think you’ve done that already.
PG: I’ll look for him…I’ve come from Newcastle all the way to Rothbury…am gonna stay in bed and breakfast to see if I can find him, I tell you what he’s the only one, I think I can talk to him, and I aint scared.
Host: Paul Gascoigne many thanks for joining us on Real Radio tonight we appreciate it.
PG: Thank you very much, do us a favour?
Host: Go on.
PG: Send a cheque through the post…ha ha ha only joking.
Host: Gazza thank you.
This is only the first conversation with Gazza, a second where he said he’d intended to roam the moors in the pitch black shouting Moaty’s name cause that’s what he called him and offered to lure him out with a NUFC jacket. Strange, strange times and you can only wonder what Gazza's life must be like full time but also whether there really is a role for him as a problem solver or hostage negotiator.