Former England Star Paul Gascoigne Appointed Manager Of Non-League Side Garforth Town

Ex-Newcastle United midfielder returns to football in a managerial capacity
Former England midfielder Paul Gascoigne has returned to football as the manager of non-league club Garforth Town.

The 43-year-old has endured a multitude of problems since his retirement from playing professional football, as he has had to deal with alcoholism, mental illness as well as personal legal problems.

The former Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder's last stint in a managerial position saw him being sacked after only 39 days in charge of Kettering Town, with the owner citing alcohol abuse as the reason behind getting rid of 'Gazza'.

"It went really well there [at Kettering Town]," Gascoigne told The News of the World.

"The chairman tried to blame it on the drink but it was totally untrue. He stopped me coaching and he wanted to become manager."

But now having become the manager of the Miners, Gascoigne is looking forward to taking the club to new heights.

"I feel strong right now," he said. "For me personally it's a big challenge. It's whether the players want to join me in that challenge.

"I never knew when I'd get back into football. I want to take the club forward and I want the players to develop.

"I will give commitment to the club. Going to a club like this does not bother me one bit.

"I love this type of football. It is not flash and the players won't be flash.

"I will get the same publicity at Garforth as if I was at a Premier League club and I don't want the players to get carried away with it.

"I am excited. I can't wait to get in and get started but of course I will be nervous.

"I will take a little bit from each manager I've worked with and I want the players to play with a smile on their faces.

"The spotlight has never really been turned off for me.

"I just hope people concentrate on results rather than the other sh**ty stuff.

"Is it my last chance? It's up to me."

The club's owner Simon Clifford has made publicity stunts in the past as he brought in Brazil legend Socrates as a player-coach for a month during the 2004-05 season.

The club brought in another Brazilian, Careca, to spend time at the club as the legendary striker featured in a friendly game against Guiseley during the summer of 2005.

However, Clifford maintains that the appointment of Gascoigne is not for such reasons.

"This is not a publicity stunt. When we signed Socrates and Careca, that was," he said.

"I want Paul to be an inspiration to someone who might have depression or problems in their lives.

"He's walked through hell but he has kept on walking.

"People look at the issues in his life.

"Because Paul had difficulties with bipolar disorder or alcohol doesn't mean he doesn't have something to offer the world.

"Everyone will get a lift from him. I wanted a bit of fairy dust and I just thought he deserved a chance.

"I don't see it as a gamble. I think he will thrive on the responsibility.

"I'm not interested in what he has and hasn't done, it's what he can do that interests me. I think he needs to be busy and have focus.

"People can criticise me for employing him but I look at England players who don't have his problems and aren't self-medicated and they are the ones abusing their position.

"He is the best player of our lifetime and he has only had one chance in management.

"It doesn't bother me if people criticise me. I am turning all my businesses into a charity in November. If Garforth become more successful it will mean more money for people I want to help, not for me."


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