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PFA will continue to support Gascoigne

The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) will continue to provide support to Paul Gascoigne, as he prepares to re-enter the realm of football management with non-league Garforth Town.

• Gascoigne given chance at Garforth

Gascoigne's last managerial tenure ended acrimoniously when he was sacked by Kettering Town after just 39 days in charge, but he revealed on Sunday that he is ready to return to the game with Garforth, owned by millionaire businessman Simon Clifford.

"I feel strong right now," Gascoigne said. "For me personally it's a big challenge. It's whether the players want to join me in that challenge. I never knew when I'd get back into football. I want to take the club forward and I want the players to develop."

Clifford's motives for bringing Gascoigne to the club have been questioned in some quarters, though accusations that the move is just a publicity stunt similar to Garforth's signing of World Cup winner Socrates and proposed approach for Cafu have been strenuously denied by the owner.

Gascoigne has suffered from ongoing personal problems both before and after his retirement from playing, and his battles with alcoholism and depression have been well publicised.

He most recently hit the headlines in July for his bizarre involvement in the police manhunt for infamous fugitive Raoul Moat, turning up with a dressing gown, two fishing rods and a can of lager as police attempted to capture the gunman in Rothbury, near Newcastle.

Gascoigne's proposed return has raised plenty of eyebrows with many worried whether the troubled former England star will be able to handle the rigours - both physical and emotional - of being a manager.

And the PFA, who work to ensure the wellbeing of both current and ex-professionals, insists that it will be there to offer any necessary support to Gascoigne.

"We hope Paul is in a position to be able to make a contribution as a manager," PFA deputy chief executive John Bramhall told ESPNsoccernet.

"The PFA are there to give whatever help and guidance we can as we have done in the past and we hope Paul is fit, both physically and mentally, for this challenge."


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