The signing of Gazza is a good move

Last updated : 18 March 2002 By Tony Scholes

Even when he came down the tunnel for his debut against Wigan it was still something difficult to grasp. He had joined us though and he did a great job. We do take some convincing though of the things so good they are hard to believe and even though I believe that was Gazza I saw out on the pitch last night I shall still have to wait for his debut.

He is here though as can be seen from the pictures with this article and it isn't just the Burnley supporters who think his move to the Turf is good for the Clarets. The Lancashire Evening Telegraph have cast their net to get the reaction of some football people and they all think this is great news for the Clarets.

Former Claret Micky Phelan might never have been a club colleague of Gazza's but was an international team mate. Micky is now first team coach at Manchester United but will still tell you he is a Claret and he said of the signing of Gascoigne,

"I was in international squads with him and although he has had a lot of ups and downs, he has still had a great career.

"The deal is very similar to the one that Stan did to bring Ian Wright here but Gazza is a different talent altogether to what Wrighty was. This move could lead to many good things.

"Burnley have got seven games left and one thing is certain, with Gazza around it won't be dull. Then, if everything goes well, there could be three more games to play in the play-offs.

"Gazza really is a terrific talent and he has real longevity, he has just kept going and proved a few critics wrong along the way.

"Maybe he is just being realistic, thought about what he is doing at the moment and decided the time was right to drop a division. Let's hope he gets the chance to play for Burnley in the top flight next season."

Craig Hignett plays his football just down the M65 now but he was in the Middlesbrough squad with Middlesbrough when they won promotion to the Premiership in 1997/98 and he had this to say of our new signing,

"He was different class as a fella, he would do anything for you. He is one of the friendliest players I have ever met. When he comes into a club it can't help but give everyone a massive lift as well as increasing the profile of the club.

"And I think he is still a great player and he had some good performances in the FA Cup. He is more than capable of playing the Premier League and his target will be to get Burnley there.

"There are no worries about his ability, it is just a case of whether he can keep himself fit. It has been a stop start season for him and he just wants to play regularly. He will just keep getting better with a good run of games. He certainly helped us end up getting promotion and I know he will want to do the same at Burnley."

There were even words from the greatest player ever to wear a Claret and Blue shirt, Jimmy McIlroy who thinks the signing will be even bigger than that of Ian Wright two years ago.

"I think he could prove to be a far greater signing that Ian Wright. Looking back at his time, his biggest contribution was bringing in the crowds and creating a great atmosphere. Gascoigne can do all of that but I think he will also produce some great moments on the pitch.

"When I first saw Paul play he was 19 or 20 years old. That day I felt certain that he had the ability to be the number one player in world football. To me he was the finest English midfielder since Johnny Haynes and praise does not come higher than that.

"Everyone knows that he never fulfilled his potential because of his lifestyle but just the same, he still has tremendous skills. He is a really talented player and I feel sure he still has the feel and touch he always had."

Finally words from former Leicester, Arsenal and England striker Alan Smith who, like Micky Phelan, was with him on England duty. Smith was on the bench when Gazza scored his first England goal,

"Gazza came off the pitch and he said to me that if he did nothing else in the game at least he had achieved that feat."

Smith thinks he will give the Clarets a massive boss as we make a bid for the play offs and the Premiership,

"When I played with him the thing that surprised you was his pace. Taking him on in training his acceleration over five yards was frightening. That may have gone a bit but he still has great skills. He is a player that strikers like because he can ping the ball in to you. He has always been a very clever player.

"I think it is a great move for Burnley because everyone who comes into contact with him, loves him. He has got a great big heart and it is just a pity that he has had so many problems.

"His arrival will do wonders for team spirit because of what he is and what he has been. All the other players will love having him around."

Phelan, Hignett, McIlroy and Smith all think he is going to be a great signing but what about the fans.

Angus Williamson – CISA

"I am delighted. I think it will be that bit of a boost we need for the last few games. Let's hope it's a deja-vu of Ian Wright which comes true.

"I think it will be wonderful for the fans and the crowd will welcome him with open arms. We've done great away from home this season but we haven't won at home for three months. Hopefully Gazza will be able to do something about that.

"It's also great for the chairman and manager who managed to pull this off. Let's hope it gives everyone and the town that lift we need."

Bev Todd – Rossendale Clarets

"I am really pleased he has signed. It is a marvellous move. We needed a boost because we had gone a bit flat and anything that puts bums on seats is wonderful.

"I watched him in the reserves when he made his comeback at Middlesborough and it was absolutely superb. He went past our players as if they weren't there so if he can do that for us it would be great.

"Turf Moor needed some atmosphere because the ground has not been like it used to be and I think he is more than capable of bringing that back and bringing some fun to the dressing room as well."