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Bournemouth Echo

England legend Paul Gascoigne returns to football - for Bournemouth Sunday League team

Coming to a Poole park near you: England legend Paul Gascoigne signs for Sunday League football team

Coming to a Poole park near you: England legend Paul Gascoigne signs for Sunday League football team

Bournemouth Echo: Photograph of the Author

Exclusive by Neil Perrett

Published / News

FORMER England star Paul Gascoigne could be set for a sensational comeback after signing for a Poole parks team.

Gazza, who moved into an apartment on Sandbanks in the summer, has joined Bournemouth Sunday League Division Four outfit Abbey.

And the 47-year-old, capped 57 times by his country, could make his debut against either Rentech Repairs or ARC Cleaning when the season kicks off next month.

Gazza was persuaded to sign for Abbey by manager Chris Foster and Bournemouth FA secretary Daron Hills has verified his registration has been received by the league.

The former Newcastle, Tottenham, Lazio and Rangers midfielder, who commanded around £20million in transfer fees during his career, performed in some of the biggest stadia in the world.

However, his anticipated debut for Abbey could come in somewhat less glamorous surroundings with their first two games taking place at Branksome Rec and Somerford Rec.

Gazza, who last played professionally in League Two for Boston United in 2004, helped England reach fourth place in the 1990 World Cup and the semi-finals of Euro 1996.

Abbey boss Foster, a taxi driver for Poole Radio Cabs, told the Daily Echo: “I have picked him up a few times and spoken to him about signing for us. Although he laughed it off, he didn't say no.

“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. 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. I was skipping like a 14-year-old!

“I texted some of the other lads and told them I had a real scoop of a signing. They thought it was either Taffy Richardson or Tommy Killick.”

Foster admitted he had no idea how often Gazza would turn out for Abbey but said it was unlikely he would make their first league game as he had been asked to play in a benefit match for Andy Culliford at Poole Town on September 7.

Asked whether Gazza would have to fight for his place in the Abbey starting line-up, Foster replied: “If he feels he is fit enough to play, he can play wherever he likes – at that includes in goal!

“I have said I will put a fixture sheet through his door and have offered to pick him up whenever he is willing to come. I don’t know what his availability will be.

"My ambition is to get him there for every game. He might play every game or he might play one. It would be an honour to have him involved.”


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