Gazza gets new club – Gansu Tianma

Last updated : 27 January 2003 By Tony Scholes

For a player with such great talent it has become something of an embarrassment as he has struggled to find anyone to give him a game, somewhat surprising because we were told when he left Burnley that he had a lot of offers including some from the Premiership.

There have been countless clubs mentioned but none at all from the Premiership. Harry Redknapp was supposed to be keen on taking him to Portsmouth but in the end preferred Paul Merson who moved in from Villa.

But Portsmouth weren’t the only club supposed to have secured his signature. There were Exeter and Darlington initially and since then Gillingham and Crewe were linked. He was certainly never coming back to Burnley. Although it was originally suggested that the door had remained open this was dispelled a couple of weeks ago by Stan appearing on Sky’s ‘Goals on Sunday’.

So in fact there was nowhere to go in England and despite supposed interest from a couple of Scottish club that came to nothing too.

And so it was off to America, Australia and New Zealand all with no success but then we had clubs such as Morpeth and others further down the non-league pyramid making him offers along with a couple of unknown clubs in Germany.

Finally though when all looked lost it does appear that he has won himself a deal. Last week he went off to China in the hope of signing for Jia A side Lianing Bird. They too said no but it has now been reported that Chinese Second Division side Gansu Tianma have offered him a one year deal.

Manager Zhong Bohong says he wants Gazza to become the spiritual leader of the side and also to help their young coaches. It is hoped his influence will see them promoted to the Jia A league, China’s top league, next season.

But even Bohong has his reservations and said of Gazza, "We picked him because he's a real professional football player. He has a good sense of the game. He has good skills and experience, especially in the big matches.

"We noticed he has two shortcomings; one is his physical fitness, another is leg strength. "It's fine if he can play the whole match. If he cannot, we can let him play half of a match, or 30 minutes, even 15 minutes, only if he can steady the morale of the team."

It brings to an end a sad period that has seen one of the finest English players in modern times touting himself around the world’s third rate clubs. It is a shame that a player of such quality should have to do this and I for one would prefer to remember the great player from his England days in the 1990s.