London (AFP) - Troubled former England star Paul Gascoigne is in line to make a return to football with a non-league Sunday side, it emerged Thursday.
Chris Foster, the manager of Abbey FC, who play in the Hayward Sunday League that comes under the auspices of the Bournemouth Football Association on England's south coast, is also a taxi driver who has picked up Gascoigne on several occasions.
As a result of their conversations, Foster said he had persuaded the 47-year-old Gascoigne, formerly of Newcastle, Tottenham, Lazio and Glasgow Rangers, as well as one of the stars of England's run to the 1990 World Cup semi-finals, to sign for Abbey FC.
Since retiring from top-level football, Gascoigne has suffered with alcoholism and drug addiction problems.
He last played professionally a decade ago when he made five appearances for then English fourth-tier club Boston United.
However, the Bournemouth FA told Britain's Press Association on Thursday they had received a a registration request on behalf of Gascoigne from Abbey FC.
"I have picked him up a few times and spoken to him about signing for us. Although he laughed it off, he didn't say no," Foster told the Bournemouth Daily Echo.
"I dropped him off at his flat a couple of weeks ago and he asked me to go to the shop to get him some cigarettes. When I got back, I was invited in and we had a good chat about various things.
"I gave him the cigarettes and pulled out the signing-on form at the same time. He signed it there and then. I was chuffed to bits and ran to the car as fast as I could. I was skipping like a 14-year-old."
Gascoigne, who once regularly played against the likes of Manchester United and AC Milan, could now make his Abbey debut when they take on Rentech Repairs in the opening round of fixtures on September 7.
However, Foster will be happy to have the 47-times capped Gascoigne play for Abbey whenever -- and wherever -- the midfielder wants.
"If he feels he is fit enough to play, he can play wherever he likes -- and that includes in goal," added Foster.
"I have said I will put a fixture sheet through his door and have offered to pick him up whenever he is willing to come. I don't know what his availability will be.
"My ambition is to get him there for every game. He might play every game or he might play one. It would be an honour to have him involved."
- Sports & Recreation
- Chris Foster