Euro 2020 England v Scotland: How Sheffield Wednesday man Lee Bullen was involved the night of Paul Gascoigne's famous dentist's chair

Paul Gascoigne’s match-settling strike against Scotland 25 years ago this week is perhaps the most iconic goal in the history of English football.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 4:30 pm

Geoff Hurst would maybe have a thing or two to say about that, of course, but there is something about the way Gascoigne flicks the ball over the head of Colin Hendry in one moment, shuffles his hips and rockets the ball past Andy Goram.

To top it all off, there is of course that celebration, neck craned to his teammates with water poured down his throat in defiance of the reaction to a drinking ritual performed on their pre-tournament trip to Hong Kong; the infamous ‘Dentist’s Chair’.

With England playing Scotland on Friday, those who haven’t yet seen the images probably don’t have a television set.

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Paul Gascoigne celebrates the goal that put England 2-0 up against Scotland back in 1996.
Paul Gascoigne celebrates the goal that put England 2-0 up against Scotland back in 1996.

England had played against the Chinese national team and were then set against a Hong Kong XI made up of the best players the region had to offer, be them locals or ex-pats.

Indeed, among those lining up against the likes of Paul Ince, Stuart Pearce, David Seaman and Teddy Sheringham was a gangly Scottish striker called Lee Bullen yet to make a full-time career in Europe, eight years ahead of his arrival at Wednesday.

England won only 1-0 thanks to a Les Ferdinand goal. Bullen missed a one-on-one chance with Seaman late on.

But the clash is not remembered for the scoreline of course, rather what happened afterwards.

“There was a massive floating restaurant in Aberdeen Harbour,” Bullen explained in conversation with The Star last summer.

“We had a big reception there with the Hong Kong FA, the players were all there. We were on separate tables initially but after that we all went on a night out.

“We didn't expect to see them really but they came in and were asking where the best places to go were and things like that. It was good, they got in amongst it.”

Bullen and the locals enjoyed a few drinks with the touring Englishmen though, he said, they didn’t mix too much.

“It was a couple of days before Gazza's birthday and so they were celebrating that,” he said with a chuckle.

“But he was hard done by. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't look great when pictures are of ripped shirts in the nightclub but they weren't idiots.

“They'd had a few drinks and they were keeping themselves to themselves, they were having a laugh and some banter,

“It was not obnoxious, it wasn't offensive to people in the place. It was harsh. When I saw the headlines I couldn't believe how much it had been blown out of proportion. When you live in the England team I suppose that's what you've got to expect a lot of the time.”

On Gascoigne, who took Euro 96 by storm and whose goal will be played countless times ahead of the monstrous England Scotland clash, he said: “He was the number one man, a top, top player. There was just something about him. He played the clown but he was utterly world, world-class. Unbelievable.

“For someone like me, from a little town in Peniciuk in Scotland, who played part-time football, playing against the England national team, it was incredible.”

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