AS one of the greatest English talents of all time prepares to take charge at Conference North side Kettering Town, Paul Hassall looks ahead to the prospect of Rivacre Park playing host to Gazzamania
IN 1990 Paul Gascoigne was the talisman of England's surge to the World Cup semi-finals.
And one of the defining images of that tournament was of Gazza struggling to come to terms with the prospect of missing the final - had England got there.
The tears that followed captured the imagination of a proud nation and projected the 23-year-old player beyond the level of high-profile footballer into the media frenzy of an English icon.
But what could have been one of the greatest careers of his generation was cruelly blighted by injury and off-the-field personal problems.
Fifteen years on, after spells with such clubs as Lazio, Rangers and Everton, the media spotlight finds Gascoigne preparing to take the plunge into the world of management in the unlikely setting of the Conference North.
And should this unexpected step materialise, one of his first matches in charge could be Kettering's visit to Rivacre Park on November 19.
The prospect of Gazza taking on the Motormen is one that excites chairman Alan Bartlam, who is relishing the impact it could make on the non-league scene.
He said: 'Whatever his motives are for taking charge at a non-league club, it's nice that big-name people with a strong history in the higher echelons of football are prepared to do something at our level and pass on their knowledge.
'I'd like to think that if he is in charge for the match at Rivacre Park in November, it would help boost the gate and there will probably be the media circus that follows him around too.
'He's a player most people look at with rose-tinted glasses because he was extremely talented and was one of those likeable old-fashioned type of players who liked a pint or two.'
For Vauxhall, it could create the kind of interest needed to help raise dwindling attendances and provide a significant boost to the club's financial coffers.
And boss Owen Brown believes it would be a great opportunity to generate an atmosphere that has long been missing at Rivacre Park - one that could inspire his struggling side.
He said: 'I've been lucky enough to have spent some time with Gazza in the past and he will no doubt be a fantastic thing for the non-league scene and for Kettering.
'He is a great character and it obviously shows massive ambition on their part to attract someone of his stature to the non-league.
'If he comes to Rivacre Park, hopefully it would boost the home gates because, let's face it, if Gazza doesn't bring the crowds in, what will?'
The prospect of Gascoigne being in charge for the match at Vauxhall hinges on how long it takes for the details to be finalised on a takeover bid from a consortium he is part of. If the deal goes through, he will be appointed manager with immediate effect.
With the Motormen desperate to boost attendances and raise their profile, everyone associated with the club will be hoping that this time it doesn't end in tears for Gascoigne.