Newcastle offer a helping hand to aid troubled Gascoigne

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Kevin Keegan said yesterday that Newcastle United "will do everything we can as a club to help" Paul Gascoigne. The 40-year-old former Newcastle midfielder was sectioned under the Mental Health Act on Thursday following an incident at a Newcastle hotel and appears to have hit rock bottom in his post-playing personal life. But Keegan said the latest development was "a positive".

Keegan said he had spoken to Gascoigne's family and the club had already begun to help – "although what we are doing remains private". Keegan was not specific about a possible future role at St James' but there is potentially scope for Gascoigne to act as a sporting ambassador, as Peter Beardsley does, or to coach at some junior level.

"He was my boot-boy when I was a player here back in '83-84," Keegan said of Gascoigne, "and not a very good one I might add. He lost my boots, well one of them anyway, when I was scoring quite a lot of goals. We as a club will do everything we can to help him. His family know that. We've told them we can help a lot. It's sad but maybe what's happened now will be a turning point for him.

"It seems negative when you say he's been sectioned and that, but I know his family believe this was the right thing to help Paul who is their main concern."

Keegan's neighbouring manager, Sunderland' s Roy Keane, also had sympathetic words. "George Best used to say he couldn't do a lot of stuff because he was looking to keep his anonymity," Keane said, "but you have to get your head around that and look after your life. If you need a bit of help, you have to be prepared to ask for it and not keep thinking you're different."