As the first-time manager of a provinical non-League football team, former England star Paul Gascoigne promised to fulfil their dreams. Then, in the space of just 39 days, both manager and team saw a dramatic reversal of fortune. Gazza was the English football icon of the 1990s. His magnificent midfield play provided some of England's most memorable moments, and he enjoyed a headline-grabbing career with Newcastle United, Tottenham, Lazio, Glasgow Rangers, Middlesborough and Everton. Then it all went terribly wrong. He still made the headlines, but for all the wrong reasons - alcoholism, drugs, wife-beating, personality disorder, run-ins with the law, nervous breakdown. Like his great hero George Best, Gascoigne seemed to have passed a personal point of no return. Then in the autumn of 2005, he was given a chance to rebuild his career with his first job as a football manager. As part of a consortium which bought Kettering Town, Gazza reinvented himself. Appearing to have his personal problems under control, he took charge - full of big ideas about steering the club into the Football League and towards the big time. The people of Kettering were star-struck by the celebrity among them. And yet, within just a few short weeks after Gascoigne was appointed manager, he would be sacked amidst an increasingly bizarre series of allegations, leaving a once hopeful club on its knees. In39 Days of Gazza, author Steve Pitts tells the story of how the disintegration of Gascoigne's managerial role impacted on so many people's lives - not least his own. This is a tragicomedy of English football, on a par with the fictionalised appraoch of The Damned United. Told by a writer who was close enough to factually observe the events, it features revealing contributions from many who were present at the time.
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