All-stars match announced to save struggling Quakers

Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

NEWCASTLE United and England legend Paul Gascoigne is to make a sensational return to the pitch to help cash-strapped Darlington FC.

Gascoigne’s agent last night confirmed the star’s plan to play in a money-spinning friendly game next month.

Quakers manager Dave Penney has organised the game with his assistant, Martin Gray, to raise money for the club, which was placed in administration in February.

The game at The Northern Echo Darlington Arena will pitch the club’s 1999-2000 playoff finalists against a side packed with famous names past and present from the region.

Among those already linedup are former Darlington stars Marco Gabbiadini and Bernie Slaven, ex-Sunderland defender Kevin Ball and Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate.

Five fans’ places will also be sold to the highest bidders.

Penney said: “We’re delighted stars such as Bernie and Gareth, along with his senior staff, are prepared to help Darlington.

“The game will be fantastic entertainment and a superb end to the season. We hope to get a big crowd at the game – it will be a great day out for all the family.”

Gazza last played a professional game in 2004. The same year, he was one of the stars who pulled on a shirt to play a fundraising match the last time Darlington went into administration.

Then, more than 14,000 fans turned out to watch an array of star players, including Kenny Dalglish, Bryan Robson, Chris Waddle and Peter Beardsley.

But it was Gazza who stole the show in an entertaining match that raised £100,000 – enough to ensure the club’s survival.

Gascoigne is widely regarded as the most gifted footballer of his generation.

He won an array of accolades, an FA Cup winners medal, 57 full England caps, and had spells with Newcastle United and Middlesbrough.

Since he retired, Gascoigne had a brief spell as manager of Kettering Town, but has been plagued by a number of personal problems.

He has undergone therapy for bulimia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and alcoholism.

Last year, he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act following an incident at Newcastle’s Malmaison Hotel.

Last month, in an emotional radio interview, he described how his drug-induced paranoia led him to insanity and that his heart failed three times.

He also revealed he has been in contact with Argentina coach Diego Maradona and that he would love to return to management at Newcastle United.

Last night, his agent, Stuart Skinner, said Gascoigne was working in the gym to return to fitness and hoped to play “ten to 15” minutes of the game in Darlington on May 3.

Christine Balford, commercial director of Darlington Football Club, said: “Gazza’s profile is very high and that is what we need. We are delighted he has agreed to play.”

Ms Balford added: “Dave and Martin have done fantastically well to organise this game and attract big names to The Northern Echo Darlington Arena. We hope the crowd will be the biggest of the season.”

Tickets, which go on sale on Friday, will be £10 for adults and £5 for children. Corporate and sponsorship packages will also be available. For more details, call 01325-387000.

Comments (10)

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12:29pm Wed 8 Apr 09

Albert Chisholm says...

So re-assuring to know that a club on its arse is to be asscosiated with a washed up player also on his arse.

I really do wish DFC all the very very best, but its time to move on and draw a line under it, the clubs a joke and everytime the ckub becomes solvent again, the crowds dwindle away and history keeps repeating itself.

But I would like to be proved wrong however!
So re-assuring to know that a club on its arse is to be asscosiated with a washed up player also on his arse. I really do wish DFC all the very very best, but its time to move on and draw a line under it, the clubs a joke and everytime the ckub becomes solvent again, the crowds dwindle away and history keeps repeating itself. But I would like to be proved wrong however! Albert Chisholm
  • Score: 0

12:43pm Wed 8 Apr 09

big arnie says...

Gazza's spell as manager of Kidderminster must've been incredibly brief. Probably briefer than his spell as manager of Kettering.
Gazza's spell as manager of Kidderminster must've been incredibly brief. Probably briefer than his spell as manager of Kettering. big arnie
  • Score: 0

3:11pm Wed 8 Apr 09

dave3mrr says...

Everything that has been said by GH about the club and it's finances suggets that if we don't find a buyer we are history at the end of the season. Our last league match is May 2nd at Chester and this is planned for.... May 3rd....er....is there something that the club knows that the fans don't?
Everything that has been said by GH about the club and it's finances suggets that if we don't find a buyer we are history at the end of the season. Our last league match is May 2nd at Chester and this is planned for.... May 3rd....er....is there something that the club knows that the fans don't? dave3mrr
  • Score: 0

9:36pm Wed 8 Apr 09

monteforte says...

A great event and a feast of football to look forward to...What,s Christine Balford doing for the club?We know since she as been Commercial Director she has ruined the club financially.She never listen to the supporters concerns or raised attendance levels..She failed in addressing many issues at the club...why is she still in a well paid position at the club? she is not needed,cost cutting should have started with her being given the boot...Her commercial record is dismal...
A great event and a feast of football to look forward to...What,s Christine Balford doing for the club?We know since she as been Commercial Director she has ruined the club financially.She never listen to the supporters concerns or raised attendance levels..She failed in addressing many issues at the club...why is she still in a well paid position at the club? she is not needed,cost cutting should have started with her being given the boot...Her commercial record is dismal... monteforte
  • Score: 0

12:13pm Thu 9 Apr 09

Skallywagg says...

Allegedly - Gazza wanted a fee to appear at this event, which as we all know the club cannot afford. They have now allegedly come to an agreement that he will be able to hold a sportsmans dinner at the arena with the proceeds from the event going to Gazza.
Allegedly - Gazza wanted a fee to appear at this event, which as we all know the club cannot afford. They have now allegedly come to an agreement that he will be able to hold a sportsmans dinner at the arena with the proceeds from the event going to Gazza. Skallywagg
  • Score: 0

12:18pm Thu 9 Apr 09

Norm_D_Ploom says...

Monteforte, some of what you say may be true, however I feel it is unfair to put the clubs current plight at her door, which is what you appear to be doing.
Monteforte, some of what you say may be true, however I feel it is unfair to put the clubs current plight at her door, which is what you appear to be doing. Norm_D_Ploom
  • Score: 0

2:15pm Thu 9 Apr 09

DarrenK says...

When the sh*t hits the fan the people at the top should get the blame. Yet again its down to the people at the bottom, us the supporters to pick up the peices from total mismanagement yet again. i just wonder if the club can find a new owner, this has happened 3 times, firstly Mike Peden, George Reyonlds Then George Houghton. I thought it was 3rd time lucky, but clearly not!!!
When the sh*t hits the fan the people at the top should get the blame. Yet again its down to the people at the bottom, us the supporters to pick up the peices from total mismanagement yet again. i just wonder if the club can find a new owner, this has happened 3 times, firstly Mike Peden, George Reyonlds Then George Houghton. I thought it was 3rd time lucky, but clearly not!!! DarrenK
  • Score: 0

2:16pm Thu 9 Apr 09

mrcoops1984 says...

Loving all the "Allegedly"s. Just be quiet Skallywag. I'm sure even Gazza is intelligent enough that Darlington are in desperate need of funds and would not expect anything in return.

Idiot!
Loving all the "Allegedly"s. Just be quiet Skallywag. I'm sure even Gazza is intelligent enough that Darlington are in desperate need of funds and would not expect anything in return. Idiot! mrcoops1984
  • Score: 0

3:01pm Thu 9 Apr 09

billysaid says...

not true mrcoops,he said two bottles of vodka would be very appreciated.lol. a waste of space x player in a waste of space club. fact.
not true mrcoops,he said two bottles of vodka would be very appreciated.lol. a waste of space x player in a waste of space club. fact. billysaid
  • Score: 0

12:18pm Mon 13 Apr 09

Mr. Fitzpatrick says...

Waste of space club? How do you work that out? How can a club in League Two be a waste of space? Its people like you that ruin football, I wonder who you support...Three guesses Newcastle, Man Utd or Liverpool.
Waste of space club? How do you work that out? How can a club in League Two be a waste of space? Its people like you that ruin football, I wonder who you support...Three guesses Newcastle, Man Utd or Liverpool. Mr. Fitzpatrick
  • Score: 0

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