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Season 2002-03
Berwick Rangers (a) Friendly
Date: Thursday 10th Oct 2002, 7.45pm 

Venue: Whitley Park, Benton (aka Blue Flames)


Admission was £6 (not the advertised tenner) and supporters paid on the night. Programme produced - £1.

Newcastle United XI

1-0 Berwick Rangers


38 mins: On a pitch where he claimed four goals in his previous appearance (for the U19 side), Chopra made no mistake when presented with a chance, hitting a low shot past the keeper after Kendrick had played him in on the right side of the box. 1-0

Half time: Newcastle 1 Berwick 0

Full time:
Newcastle  1 Berwick 0

We Said

Tommy Craig commented:

"It was an exhibition match and we got the goal that mattered. It was a good finish but it was just a shame we couldn't give the fans a few more goals. And Paul showed one or two touches of his old self."

They Said

Writing for (Berwick fansite) Craig Forsyth said:

"Gazza, playing in a central midfield role for Berwick, looked way off the pace of the game, and by attempting his trademark flicks which shot him to fame with Newcastle, Spurs, Lazio, Rangers and England he made life difficult for the Berwick defenders by giving the ball away cheaply."


Michael Chopra's 38th minute strike proved decisive at Whitley Park as the Northumberland FA celebrated the official opening of their new HQ.

On a breezy night at Blue Flames, a ninety minute stint from Berwick's guest player, Paul Gascoigne, couldn't help the Borderers from slipping to defeat in a game of few chances, despite the woodwork taking some punishment.

In the first ten minutes both sides rattled the goal-frame with Barrett hitting the bar from close range after just four minutes, while at the other end Joe Kendrick had a shot diverted onto the post five minutes later.

It was Diego Gavilan's turn to hit the bar just before the half hour but Chopra made no mistake after 38 minutes, hitting a low shot past the keeper after Kendrick had played him in on the right side of the box.

Gazza sprayed some typical passes out from midfield and showed some good touches as he enjoyed one or two exchanges with Jamie McClen. The two had dished out some stern challenges to each other before Gazza nutmegged McClen who then shook his hand in acknowledgement. 

However he looked well short of match fitness and barely moved from the centre circle after the break.

Substitute Damon Robson headed a Kendrick cross onto the bar with eight minutes remaining but only a Carl Cort shot which was beaten down by the goalkeeper was of note in a turgid second half. 

After the game, a trim-looking Gascoigne confirmed that he wouldn't be taking the Exeter manager's job, feeling he still has a couple of years left to offer as a player. 

He intimated that a few personal loose ends related to lawyers and accountants needed to be tied up before he returned to playing on a regular basis.

With offers from the USA, Dubai, Japan and others giving him plenty of options, this game together with an upcoming indoor tournament and the Spurs v DC United charity game next week mark significant steps on the road to at least a semblance of match fitness.



Page last updated 14 July, 2016