'Drunk' Gascoigne's managerial career ends after 39 days

By Nick Harris
Tuesday 06 December 2005 01:00

Paul Gascoigne's shortlived and bizarre reign as manager of non-league Kettering Town ended after 39 days after allegations of drunkenness before matches.

Imraan Ladak, the club's chairman, said the former England player was " under the influence of alcohol before, during and after several first-team games".

Gascoigne, who is battling alcoholism, admitted that he once drank a double brandy before a match. But he raged against the decision to sack him, accusing Mr Ladak of meddling in team affairs, failing to produce promised funds, and not dressing smartly enough.

"Before it used to be four bottles of whisky. It's not any more," Gascoigne said. "As far as I'm concerned I'm not sacked because I never signed a contract."

Gascoigne's life on and off the field has been dogged by controversy, often a result of his alcoholism. He has admitted to wife beating, has been involved in numerous run-ins with the press and photographers, and caused mirth and offence in equal measure with his notorious pranks.

In 1998, he was forced to make a public apology after making an inflammatory sectarian "flute" gesture while warming up for Rangers before a match with Celtic. Gascoigne was dismissive of Mr Ladak's knowledge of the game. "He told me he's been watching football for 20 years, five days a week, and knows how football should be played," he told Sky News.

"Well, the guy can't trap a bag of cement as far as I'm concerned. I won't walk away. I'll do it my way and I'll keep doing it my way. I've had all the players on to me and they're all behind me, the staff are behind me, and Kettering Town are behind me," he added, before admitting that he had been through a "tough time" and was having counselling.

Mr Ladak said he had had to deal with "37 incidents ... since the appointment of Paul Gascoigne as manager". He said: "I have tried to help Paul through this difficult period but gave an undertaking to the board prior to my takeover that if Paul hit the bottle I would remove him as manager. Paul has not reacted well to the news and has made numerous threats that if I do not sell him the club he will use his name and the media to turn the players and supporters against me.

"This has already begun, with Paul calling a number of the first team last night, under the influence of alcohol. Paul even told players not to report for training."

Gascoigne, 38, arrived at Kettering, who play two divisions below the Football League in the Conference North, as part of a Ladak-headed consortium that took over in October. After his dismissal, he said he wanted to buy Mr Ladak's controlling interest.

Mr Ladak, a 27-year-old businessman who owns a recruitment agency that specialises in medical personnel, said: "I would not sell Kettering Town FC for £100m. I have been extremely disappointed with the way things have worked out with Paul."

Mr Ladak added that Gascoigne had been "very difficult to work with". Gascoigne was Kettering's manager for eight games, winning two, losing two and drawing two in the league, and winning one and losing one in cup competitions.

In the past five years, he has had brief, largely unsuccessful, periods as a player with Middlesbrough, Everton and Burnley and also embarked on an ill-fated, short-lived, player-coach career with a Chinese team, Gansu Tianma. Last year, he signed a deal to become the player-coach for Boston in the lower reaches of the Football League but left after 11 games.

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