Outside the Box: Have it! Pint of John Smith's tempts Gary Mac to play again

One of the more unlikely transfers of the season has been Tadcaster Albion's acquisition of the former Leeds and Scotland captain Gary McAllister for a signing-on fee of a pint of ale and a sports drink. The Albion manager, Paul Marshall, had played alongside him in an over-45 veterans competition and after making the offer "half-jokingly", was stunned by McAllister's acceptance. The deal, he said, was completed at the bar over a pint of John Smith's and a Lucozade Sport. With Tadcaster only one point behind the leaders Brighouse Town and having three games in hand, McAllister, who hasn't played yet, should be in line for another glittering honour to add to his 57 Scottish caps, League championship, FA Cup and Uefa Cup: the Koolsport Northern Counties East League Division One title.

Gazza fooled by Crook

Everybody needs good neighbours, Paul Gascoigne more than most. Kiwi television presenter Natalie Crook has been talking about life in the next-door flat – a little indiscreetly, since she admits: "If he knew I was a journalist, he would die." She recalled how her husband, the Newcastle Falcons prop Carl Hayman, helped Gazza one day after he was locked out by inviting him in for a cup of tea and calling the landlord: "He came back with this big tray of Indian takeout, about two days old." Presumably Jimmy Five-Bellies' leftovers. Come the end of the domestic rugby season, however, someone else will be moving in; Hayman has disappointed both Newcastle and the New Zealand Rugby Union by agreeing to join Toulon rather than returning to the All Blacks squad ahead of next year's World Cup. A shame, perhaps, that the neighbours did not all spend more time together; Crook is studying for a diploma in "image consulting", which might have helped Gascoigne, who was in trouble again last week, charged with drunk-driving.

Finally Working at home

An update to last week's item about Workington's long hours on the road. Postponement of the midweek game at Ilkeston meant that including yesterday's Blue Square North match at Northwich Vics, a mere eight of their last nine fixtures have been away. They finally get a home game again tomorrow, then it's another long trip back to Ilkeston on Wednesday. Sadly, there will be no new date for the game at Farsley Celtic which was due to start the procession of road trips; the Yorkshire club have been disbanded, their financial problems having been worsened the season before last by the cost of longer journeys after winning promotion to the Blue Square Premier. Yet the top division insists on remaining national rather than regional.

Make a name for yourself

Does the Football League referee Gary Sutton's heart sink when he belatedly realises which player he is about to book? A reader points out that so far this season the Lincoln official has taken the names of Tamika Mkandawire (Orient), Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz (Aldershot) and Zoumana Bakayogo (Tranmere). Just imagine all the added time to be played.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk

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