One of England's most loved, yet troubled former international stars Paul Gascoigne has returned to his hometown club six years after calling time on his playing days.
The former Spurs and Lazio maestro has had to battle through some well documented problems with alcohol and mental health, but he has weathered his personal storm and made a return to football.
Many thought that after a frankly catastrophic foray into management with Kettering Town four years ago, Gazza's chances of making a living in the game he so dearly loves were completely over.
But in his new role with The Magpies, the man with 57 England caps to his name is building from the bottom again and helping at the club's academy alongside friend and former team-mate Peter Beardsley.
Although officially Gazza is still 'informally' involved at the academy, he is working on a daily basis at the club and loving every minute. The new lease of life he has received from the job, means he is now mentally stable, sober, and looking to the future to continue his development as a coach.
The 42-year-old was visibly content when he spoke of his return to his hometown club.
“I love football and I loved being a footballer. I’d give anything to
put on a pair of boots but the next best thing is training with
“I’m happy as a person right now. I’m feeling good about myself and
having something to get up for every morning is a great feeling.
Health-wise I’m in the best place I’ve been in for a long while.
He had nothing but praise for Beardsley and went on to indicate his future plans.
“Peter Beardsley has been fantastic for me and makes sure I’m OK.
“He is also a brilliant coach and the kids think he is fantastic. I’d
like to do my coaching badges and carry on coaching as long as I can.
That’s got to be my aim, to stay happy and to help Peter as much as I
“Peter has always been there for me and I am loving every minute of working with him.
“I think the key to my happiness is keeping busy and hopefully I can take this chance to change my life.”