Gazza's Wolverhampton show descends into chaos as star refuses to take to the stage after row over money

Fans were left disappointed when an evening with Paul Gascoigne event at Starworks Wolverhampton was cancelled hours into the event – amid claims the star hadn’t been paid for the appearance.

Tempers rise as fans realise Paul Gascoigne has left the meet and greet evening before appearing on stage
Tempers rise as fans realise Paul Gascoigne has left the meet and greet evening before appearing on stage

The event on Friday was set to include a meet and greet with VIPs, champagne reception and live stage question and answer session with the former football legend.

But after having photos with the VIP fans and signing memorabillia, hours later a spokesman for the venue took to the stage to tell the 300-strong crowd that Gazza had left and offered no explanation as to why.

Paul Gascoigne greets fans at the beginning of the meet and greet

Tweets later posted by Gazza and his management claimed that the venue and booking company had failed to pay the star - and apologised to the fans.

While a spokesman for Starworks said as far as they were aware he had been paid by the booking agency and they paid out in good faith.

Gazza claimed after Friday’s event to be ‘in tears’ on Twitter and speaking on the phone to the Express and Star he said: “I am absolutely devastated. I am not going to let those people down.

“I love my fans and what has happened is disgusting. I would never let my fans down, the only person I have ever let down is myself. I came all the way to give them a good time and then this happens.

“I have just had an operation and I managed to get ready for the event. I did that for the fans. I can’t believe all this and it’s not our fault - they have not paid. I did the best I could for all those people.”

His manager Shane Whitfield said: “The show was cancelled on Thursday as the owners had not paid the bill. We agreed a fee and they transferred some of the fee and were due to pay the rest on the night.

On Twitter, Gazza said: “I personally apologise to all the people that attended the event tonight in Wolverhampton” before accusing the venue of failing to pay his fee and urging the fans to get their money back.

He later added: “I’m gutted about tonights event so me and @Shanewh1tfield @KongEvents will host a free event for all who attended the show.”

Mark Brewer, from Kong Events, on behalf of Gazza, said: “It’s nothing to do with Paul. He came to the event out of respect for the fans and they have not paid. Everyone who came to the event will be looked after.

“Gazza hates letting fans down. We want everyone to get their money back. They did not follow through with the payment, so he had to leave.”

A spokesman for the Starworks venue said: “We had been held to ransom by the booking agency we used to book Paul Gascoigne - a booking made and paid for more than six months ago.

“£9,000 had been paid to an East Midlands-based agency for the Gazza appearance. But on the night his management said they had not received that payment so they were paid a further £5,000 on the night.

“A further £5,000 was then demanded for the event to proceed which Starworks refused to pay on the grounds they had already paid out £14,000. Gazza and his team therefore left.

“We paid out in good faith and felt we were being held to ransom. As far as we were aware, Gazza had been paid by the booking agency - we will now be contacting them to see how this occurred and why he wasn’t paid.

“We are so disappointed for our customers that they didn’t get to see the after dinner show. Thankfully they did at least get their chance to meet him and have photos.”

But hundreds of fans were left disappointed after travelling miles and forking cash for tickets for the event.

Jo Sprio from Wolverhampton wants to know what has happened to his raffle money after learning Paul Gascoigne had left the meet and greet evening before appearing on stage

Joe Sprio, from Oxley, said: “It’s been an absolute shambles. Hopefully we will get our money back for the tickets, we spent £20 on raffle tickets too.

“We spent £80 on the VIP tickets each so we are feeling quite disappointed. It’s a shame really.”

Tom Harris, from Oxley, said: “We kept being told 10 minutes, then it was a half hour delay. I don’t think it’s fair at all.

“I am very disappointed. I have these tickets for a while and paid £80 up front.”

Emma and Rebecca Rogers, from Bridgnorth, said: “We managed to meet him before, but we want our money back.

“He came here for a live interview and we did not get it. We paid £75 each for our tickets.

“We are quite disappointed - we have done lots of these meet and greet events before and nothing like this has ever happened.”

David Lowry from London, right, pictured with family, from left to right, Karena Higgins, Gary Elks and Dean Lowry

David Lowry, who travelled up for the event from London, said: “We came for a night out and it was a treat for me. From start to finish it was a scam.

“We paid to have a photo with him and people have travelled from down south to come here to see him. I came from London, to see my children. And other than a photo with him, that’s all I have had.”

Luke Greaves, from Stafford, who brought tickets for his dad Paul for Father’s Day, said: “He’s still a genius. To be honest, I am not disappointed about what has happened, if something has happened.

“It’s not worth kicking off. If he turned up again here, we would come see him. We did this as a Father’s Day present and we had been looking forward to it for ages.”

Andrew Ashby from High Wycombe, left and Gary Holliday from Birmingham

Gary Holliday, from Birmingham, said: “It is just really disappointing. We are really angry and annoyed. I have been in Russia for the last three weeks for the World Cup and I’d booked these tickets before for a cheer me up.

“It’s been a shambles. It’s just really disappointing as we paid a lot of money. He has been our hero since we were kids.”

Andrew Ashby, travelled from London to see the star. He said: “We have not got what we paid for at the end of the day and that is disappointing.”

Mark Hawkins, from Castle Bromwich, added: “We sat there for two hours and then to be told he is not coming out.

“It’s disappointing, it’s really wrong.”

Tickets for the event were priced from £35 to VVIP for £75 for a meet and greet, champagne reception, prime seating, buffet and free picture.

Earlier in the evening, Gazza had arrived on stage for photos with VIP ticket holders with shouts and cheers from the crowd. An auction of items at the event saw a signed photo of the star sell for £300, as well as a signed Anthony Joshua boxing glove for £250 and a pair of boxing shorts signed by Mike Tyson for £375.

Dozens of fans also paid £200 for an England shirt signed by Gazza.

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