‘Disgracefool’ Paul Gascoigne, England’s Euro 96 stars and the Hong Kong Dentist’s Chair – where are they now?
Euro 96 hosts beat Golden XI at Hong Kong Stadium before the tournament but it is best remembered for a wild May night at China Jump
England are readying themselves for the World Cup with friendlies against Nigeria and Costa Rica at Wembley and Elland Road but in the ’90s it was a different story.
The FA decided that the best preparation for Euro 96 was for Terry Venables to take his side on a tour of China.
It started well with the first game a 3-0 win over China in the Workers’ Stadium in Beijing, in which Phil Neville made his debut, before the team headed down to Hong Kong for the Golden Inventec Century Challenge Cup ’96, a rather grand name for a friendly against the Hong Kong Golden Select XI.
The Three Lions won 1-0 through a Les Ferdinand header in a performance as shocking as the Hong Kong side’s pink Reebok kit.
The match was disappointing at best, with Sky Sport calling it “an embarrassing 90 minutes for England’s best against a team made up of mostly has beens and never will bes”, and while that is best forgotten, what happened after lives on in infamy.
Given free rein to celebrate Paul Gascoigne’s birthday a day early and placed under the watchful eye of notorious boozer Bryan Robson, several of the squad headed to Causeway Bay and the China Jump for a night out where the term “Dentist’s Chair” become forever synonymous with ripped shirts and wild-eyed debauchery, as the players piled into the chair to have spirits tipped down their throats.
Pictures of the dishevelled stars soon got out and they were front page news back home – The Sun’s “Disgracefool” headline captured the furore.
So 22 years on to the day, what became of those involved?
“El Tel” as he was known during his time as Barcelona boss is still fondly remembered by England fans, and his side were the most successful since Italia 90 in reaching the semi-finals of Euro 96. He was let go after the tournament and went on to manage Australia, Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Leeds United. Now runs La Escondida, his luxury hotel just outside Alicante on Spain’s Costa Blanca.
That summer England lost to Germany after Southgate had his penalty saved, this summer he will (likely) be the scapegoat again in his role as England manager. The central defender did not to go to the China Jump on the advice of Stuart Pearce. Left Aston Villa for Middlesbrough where he was Steve McClaren’s first signing and who he later replaced as manager. Previously England under-21s boss.
Turned 29 the day after the China Jump, the Rangers player was England’s star of the tournament thanks to a wonder goal against Scotland that he celebrated by recreating the Dentist’s Chair. That remains the enduring image of Euro 96 and it was his last tournament for England. Ended up playing in China for Gansu Flying Horses in his later days. Gascoigne has struggled publicly with drink, drugs and depression but appears to be winning his battles at the moment. Recently joined Twitter.
No. 3 | @Paul_Gascoigne8
The year is 1996. England are playing Scotland in the Euro's at Wembley. The ball get's clipped into Gazza's path, who flicks it over the on-rushing defender with his left, before volleying in with his right. Cue the dentist chair celebration. Scenes. pic.twitter.com/RGrRSN1Gqp
— Pro:Direct Soccer (@ProD_Soccer) 3 April 2018
Did not play at Euro 96 and was never in the England squad again, the defender left boyhood club Newcastle United to go and play at Manchester City, Leicester City and Bolton Wanderers before heading to the MLS with New England Revolution. Now works for the English Premier League and recently returned to Hong Kong where he captained Wallsend Boys Club at this year’s Soccer Sevens.
Another player who called in at Manchester City on his route to retirement. The goalkeeper starred in Dancing on Ice in 2006 where he met his current wife, they married in 2015. Now an ambassador for Playon, Safe Hands released a book of the same name in 2000. Seaman was asleep while the China Jump was jumping off.
The top scorer at Euro 96 was still at Blackburn Rovers at the time but then chose to move to Newcastle United over Manchester United that summer. Scored goals galore for his boyhood team but never won anything. Later managed the club but now a fixture on the Match of the Day panel.
— Football Past (@thecentretunnel) 17 November 2017
The former England skipper was meant to be keeping an eye on the players. Joined Middlesbrough as player manager and then managed former club West Bromwich Albion. Last coaching role was with the Thailand national team and is now a Manchester United global ambassador. Back in Hong Kong this Easter with the Jockey Club.
Exorcised his Italia 90 penalty demons at Euro 96 before leaving Nottingham Forest for Newcastle United, West Ham United and Manchester City. “Psycho” hung up his boots and went into management at Man City before taking charge of England under-21s, the Great Britain 2012 Olympic team and England as caretaker. Also managed Nottingham Forest and was most recently assistant to David Moyes at West Ham.
The one-club man locked himself in his room for the night as he vowed not to drink during the tournament, he revealed his struggles with addiction in a press conference that September. Left Arsenal in 2002 and his coaching CV has included Spanish side Granada, Azerbaijian’s Gabala and Portsmouth. Was director of sport at Chinese Super League side Chongqing Lifan and has recently been linked to the Singapore national team job.
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) 23 April 2018
Three years to the day Sheringham was scoring the equaliser in the Champions League final with Manchester United. Went back to Tottenham Hotspur from Old Trafford and on to West Ham United, Portsmouth and Colchester where he played into his 40s. Sacked as boss of Indian Super League side ATK this January.
The scorer of the winner in Hong Kong left Newcastle United for Spurs and a handful of appearances elsewhere before retiring in 2005. Had a brief stint as a caretaker manager at QPR where he is now the sporting director.
Won his second cap against China and returned to the country once he finished playing as goalkeeping coach for Shanghai Shenhua. Crossed the city to Shanghai SIPG where he worked with former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson. The side are top of the CSL table and have conceded the second fewest goals.
— Nat. Football Museum (@FootballMuseum) 11 March 2018
Now assistant manager at Solihull Moors who he helped keep in the National League this season. Has previously been a goalie coach at Leicester and Man City, the club where he finished his career. Flowers was assistant to Iain Dowie at both QPR and Coventry City.
The defender has been linked with the vacant Ipswich Town job. He has been advising small businesses on cybercrime and tried to become a Conservative candidate for London Mayor in 2015. Left Spurs for Arsenal, where he later enjoyed a second spell before finishing up at Newcastle United.
The former Liverpool midfielder is a mainstay on British screens and in print. Left Anfield for Spurs and then Southampton.
— Evening Standard (@standardnews) 25 July 2015
Woke up at 11am to be reassured by Spurs teammate Walker that training had been cancelled, Anderton’s career was beset by injury. Will be a pundit on the World Cup for Singaporean television.
Since retiring from Manchester United, the elder Neville has forged a business empire with Ryan Giggs and owns non-league Salford City along with Giggs, brother Phil, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt. Now a pundit on Sky Sports where he has joined former England teammate Jamie Carragher, Neville also had a go at management with Valencia and as a defensive coach for England.
England women’s manager was a part of his former Everton boss David Moyes’ back room staff at Manchester United and was assistant to his brother at Valencia. Both Nevilles stayed in that fateful night on the advice of David Platt.
#OnThisDay in 1996. The England national team played their first ever game in China with a 3-0 at the Workers Stadium in Beijing. Former #Boro and #hcafc man Nick Barmby scored a brace, before @Paul_Gascoigne8 added a third. pic.twitter.com/vTAY2tQSG7
— REMATCH (@OfficialRematch) 23 May 2018
A brace in the win over China for the Middlesbrough man who left for Everton that summer. Later crossed Stanley Park to play for Liverpool and then Leeds. Finished his career at boyhood club Hull City where he was also manager. Son Jack plays for Portland Timbers.
On gardening leave from Newcastle after allegations of bullying and racial abuse while under-23 boss. Had brought teams from the Toon to the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens. Left Newcastle as a player in 1997 for a string of English clubs before finishing his career in Australia.
Was one of several of the party who were cut from Venables’ 22-man Euro 96 squad that day. Went on to play for Chelsea, Leicester City and Millwall, where he was player-manager. Also managed Swindon Town and Leeds United. Was appointed director of football at Newcastle when Kevin Keegan returned but left with Keegan. Now a pundit on Sky Sports he starred on jungle-based reality show I’m a Celebrity last year.
Off to Wembley tonight ! Last time I was there with Newcastle this happened!!! pic.twitter.com/ntbmKFrhic
— Rob Lee (@7RobLee) 9 May 2018
The Newcastle player was another cut that day. Now co-host of the Real Offside Podcast and is an ambassador for energy drink brand Rich Energy. Both his sons were playing for Luton Town this past season though Olly has moved to Hearts.
Died last April after a heart attack while coaching the under-23 squad at Spurs. Ehiogu previously played alongside Southgate at Villa then Boro, where Robson signed him and Southgate later managed him. Also played for Glasgow Rangers
Director of the Manchester City Academy since last year. The former City youth teamer left Blackburn for Leeds and also played for Leicester and Blackpool. Was cut from the squad that day but stayed in on the advice of Platt.
Pele, Fowler and Mcmanaman working at Subway everyone pic.twitter.com/fE5eBaRvds
— Jake Ashton (@jakeashton1993) 22 March 2015
Left Liverpool for Real Madrid then Man City. Pele rated him best player at Euro 96 and was still telling people in 2000. The love-in was complete when McManaman and Fowler joined the Brazilian to open a Subway in London in 2015. Now a Liverpool ambassador.
Was a coach at Man City but left when Mancini was sacked in 2013 and has since been Pune City manager in the Indian Super League. Retired at Nottingham Forest after leaving Arsenal.
Now working as a pundit.
His last appearance for England was at Euro 96 but his playing career took in Villa after Forest and then Leeds and Portsmouth. Was reserve team assistant to Beardsley at Newcastle United and then worked with the first team.
22 years ago today, England prepared for Euro ‘96 by sticking Gazza in the ‘dentist’s chair’ in Hong Kong. Took five days for that picture to make it to the front page of The Sun. Wild pic.twitter.com/jjTfSNQfym
— Graeme Demianyk (@GraemeDemianyk) 26 May 2018
Left Inter Milan for Liverpool before Middlesbrough and Wolves. Managed MK Dons twice and Blackburn Rovers but has not managed since Blackpool. Now does the scores show on BT Sport. Son Tom plays in the Premier League for Huddersfield Town.
The Liverpool striker left for Leeds and then Man City before rejoining the club. Went on to play in Australia and Thailand. Was serenaded by City fans with “We all live in a Robbie Fowler house” on account of his property empire. Recently interviewed Jurgen Klopp ahead of the Champions League final and has been linked with replacing Steven Gerrard as Liverpool under-18 boss.
The Dentist’s Chair
Former China Jump bar manager Gary Stokes says that the bar had a huge renovation a couple of months before it abruptly closed down. The location of a key part of English football history is unknown but it deserves a place in the National Football Museum.