39 Days of Gazza
by Steve Pitts
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The tragicomic story of how the disintegration of Paul Gascoigne's managerial role impacted many people's lives, not least his own
As the first-time manager of a provincial non-League football team, former England star Paul Gascoigne promised to fulfill their dreams, but then in the space of just 39 days, both manager and team saw a dramatic reversal of fortune. Gazza was the English football icon on the 1990s. His magnificent midfield play provided some of England's most memorable moments, and he enjoyed a headline-grabbing career with Newcastle United, Tottenham, Lazio, Glasgow Rangers, Middlesbrough, and Everton. Then it all went terribly wrong. He still made the headlines, but for all the wrong reasons—alcoholism, drugs, wife-beating, personality disorder, run-ins with the law, and nervous breakdown. Gascoigne seemed to have passed a personal point of no return. Then, in the autumn of 2005, he was given a chance to rebuild his career with his first job as a football manager. As part of a consortium which bought Kettering town, Gazza reinvented himself. Appearing to have his personal problems under control, he took charge, full of big ideas about steering the club into the Football League and towards the big time. The people of Kettering were starstruck by the celebrity among them. And yet, within just a few short weeks after Gascoigne was appointed manager, he would be sacked amid an increasingly bizarre series of allegations, leaving a once hopeful club on its knees.
- John Blake, March 2013
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