Gascoigne confirms role in takeover bid for lower league club

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Imraan Ladak, the consortium's head, issued a statement on Gascoigne's personal website which said the group were "actively looking to invest a substantial sum into a football club" with a view to following "in the footsteps of clubs like Wigan and Fulham by taking a lower league club to top flight status." Ladak revealed they had spoken to three clubs, including Peterborough United.

It is understood Gascoigne is likely to be personally involved should the consortium buy a club either as manager, coach, or as a consultant. At present the 38-year-old is in Portugal where he has been assisting Algarve United.

The consortium are looking at clubs in Leagues One and Two which might be transformed quickly through an injection of cash and expertise. The aim is to find a club which it would be possible to take into the Premiership, or to the brink of it, in a five-year span. Fulham took five seasons to go from the bottom tier (then the Third Division) to the top flight, the last two promotions following Mohamed Al Fayed's takeover. Wigan, under Dave Whelan, have gone from bottom to top in nine seasons, the last two promotions coming in three campaigns.

Gascoigne, who is a shareholder in the consortium, will be in England later this week to assess the situation. At Algarve United he is involved in a similarly ambitious project. The club is only a year old but it has already made an impressive start to its mission to bring senior football to southern Portugal. Based in Vilamoura and founded by Corrado Correggi, a local cork producer turned football agent, and his father-in-law John McGovern, captain of Nottingham Forest's European Cup winning sides, the intention is to build a club capable of filling the Estadio Algarve, one of the Euro 2004 venues. Having won promotion to the lower tiers of the Portuguese league it is now recruiting players with Gascoigne scouting and coaching.

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