Troubled former England striker Paul Gascoigne is set to play football again after he signed up for a Sunday League team in Bournemouth.
The 47-year-old, who lives in Dorset on the south coast, has signed up to play for local Bournemouth Sunday League Division Four outfit Abbey. It's not quite Italia 90, but if all goes well Gascoigne could make his debut next month against either Rentech Repairs or ARC Cleaning.
Abbey's manager Chris Foster, a local taxi driver, told the Bournemouth Daily Echo how he convinced the former Newcastle, Tottenham and Lazio player to sign up. “I dropped him off at his flat a couple of weeks ago and he asked me to go to the shop to get him some cigarettes," Foster said. When I got back, I was invited in and we had a good chat about various things.
“I gave him the cigarettes and pulled out the signing-on form at the same time. He signed it there and then. I was chuffed to bits and ran to the car as fast as I could," Foster said. "I was skipping like a 14-year-old!"
Gascoigne has had very public battles with alcoholism in recent years, and last year he told an ITV documentary that he felt he was drinking himself to death.
Gascoigne last played professionally for League Two side Boston United in 2004, but his new manager says he has a guaranteed place in the side if he's willing: “If he feels he is fit enough to play, he can play wherever he likes – and that includes in goal!"