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Tuesday, 01 November 2005

2436: Paul Gascoigne joins Kettering


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by : Sean Graham

Former England International, Paul Gascoigne, has taken over as Manager of Kettering Town after a consortium lead by Imraan Ladak and Gazza had taken control of the club.

38 year old Gascoigne is in charge of the Poppies with former Arsenal favorite Paul Davis installed as a coach of the Conference North club where they find themselves lying in fifth place at the moment. The Poppies, founded in 1872 have never been in the Football League in 133 years, and this will be one of Gascoigne’s main aim’s to get the club there.

Before Gazza’s arrival, they had been drawing in crowds of 1,000 fans but with the arrival of the former England star there may just be some excitement around their Rockingham Road ground as a result of this. Poppies Manager, Kevin Wilson, was named Director of Football and will hope that this new team can get off to a winning start against Droylsden this Saturday.

Kettering Town is the latest in a long line of teams far and wide that Gazza has been involved with over the years in his somewhat glittering and controversial time for the various clubs and his country. He starred for Newcastle United, his boyhood heroes being a Geordie lad from Gateshead before moving on to Tottenham Hotspur, winning the FA Cup in 1991 with a 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest in a match that will be forever remembered for his wild lunge at Gary Charles that gave him serious knee problems that were to continue as he moved to Italy with Lazio.

He came back to the UK but maybe to manys surprise this time to Scotland, to play for Glasgow Rangers were he was not far from the headlines and not always for the right reasons!

He was ill advised in one or two flute playing incidents and saw both the good and bad sides of Paul in matches v Aberdeen and Celtic.Red cards and head-butting the chest of an Aberdeen player did not go down well with the SFA!

However, no matter what team you followed in Scotland, you could not help but sit and applaud the talents of this Geordie in the final game of the season v the Dons as he run half the length of the pitch to score a quite breathtaking goal and indeed score a hat trick as Rangers marched on to 9 in a row. Gazza would return to the Premiership this time with Newcastle’s rivals, Middlesbrough before moving to Merseyside to join up with his old gaffer Walter Smith at Everton then brief spells at Burnley, China’s Gansu Tianma and player coach at Boston United before his latest venture at Kettering Town. Paul also played for England 57 times scoring 10 goals including a sensational effort v Scotland during Euro 96,when he was superb.

England were just pipped by Germany on penalties just as they were in Italia 90.

Gazza won the hearts of many with his tears after a booking would mean he would have missed the final if England made it.

He won the BBC Sports Personality of the year in 1990

He made number two in the charts with Lindisfarne with the song, Fog on the Tyne!

He was PFA Young Player of the year in 1988

He won both the Scottish Football Writers and the PFA Players-Player of the year in Scotland in 1996 with his fantastic form in the League and in a 4-3 Coca Cola Cup Final v Hearts with Gazza and Ally McCoist both scoring two goals.

Not bad for a guy who grew up in the Dunston area of Gateshead and who played for the local Boys Club-Redheugh!

We all know the Gazza has had off the field problems but he was a very gifted player when he was on his day a very special talent indeed and if he can give Kettering even half or a fraction of what he has achieved in his career then it will be the Rocking Rockingham Road if Gazza has his way!

Sean Graham
28 October 2005

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