It’s been an incredibly memorable few weeks for JOE GASCOIGNE at King’s Lynn Town,
as he explains to our columnist Gavin Caney
What are your earliest memories of football?
My earliest are probably spending every day over the park trying to recreate goals I had seen on Match of the Day.
Just kicking around with my mates sticks out the most because it reminds me of how much I love football and just playing the game. Another is tournaments with Heacham, spending the whole day playing matches, the highlight of everyone’s youth career.
When did you start to realise you might be pretty good?
That’s a question that I find hard to answer to be honest. I never felt like I was above or better than anyone else I just loved playing football and spent hours knocking a ball about.
If I had to pick out a time when I felt I was doing well, I would say it was when I started to get scouted for different clubs.
That’s because other people started to notice me but I’ve never been one to tell myself I’m good!
What was life like as an Academy player at Norwich City?
Being an academy player is what every child dreams of. The facilities and the things I experienced is something that will stay with me forever and has shaped me as a person to be honest.
I’ve also made friends for life at the academy and it’s an achievement that I’m very proud of. I’m very grateful to have had the chance to be an academy footballer and I learned a lot from my time at Norwich. You’re given every opportunity you need to better yourself.
Can you remember being released and how did it feel?
I remember it very clearly. It’s a horrible experience and I don’t think words can describe it. I think one way to put it would be ‘lonely’.
Everything you’ve ever really known gets taken away from you and for the first time in my experience I was without a club.
You have to be so mentally robust and have to build yourself back up again. I remember when I got released I made sure that I did everything to prove to them, and to myself, that I could still get to a good standard of football.
You’ve worked your way up through the ranks at King’s Lynn Town – how has the journey with your local club been?
I’m forever grateful to the club for what they have done for me. From the moment I joined they pushed me on to aim to play at the highest standard I could and supported me whenever I needed it.
It’s a club I love because I’ve watched them since I was young and I’m very proud to be playing a part in their history.
The club helped me rebuild my confidence after being released and I don’t think I would have done that if I hadn’t joined the club when I did.
You’ve made your first-team breakthrough this season. What’s it been like being around the squad and how have they treated you?
First and foremost it’s been a great learning experience. Every time I’m around the squad I’m learning something new and just trying to take in as much as I can.
The lads are class, they’ve made me feel so welcome and comfortable and I think it’s given me the ability to express myself on the training pitch and in my debut game.
The gaffer (Ian Culverhouse) has been great too. I’ve learned so much in the short time I’ve been playing under him and of course I’m very grateful to him for giving me my National League debut and just being around the squad.
Talking of the National League, your first-team debut came during a 2-0 win against Altrincham. Talk us through the day and what you remember from it.
What a day. In all honesty I didn’t have a clue I was starting but I always prepare for a game as if I am.
I remember being in the changing room and when the gaffer read my name out in the starting XI. I was obviously buzzing but I felt calm, which I’m still quite surprised about.
The lads were unbelievable too. I was a little nervous to be honest but they all came round and wished me luck and told me to just take it as another game, which relieved the nerves massively.
During the game I felt good. I worked as hard as I could and hopefully gave a good show of myself.
What’s the aim now? To try to become a regular at Lynn? Or are you hoping for even bigger and better things – namely the Football League?
I try to just take my football week by week and game by game but obviously I have goals.
It’s always been my dream to become a professional footballer so I would be lying if I didn’t say I wanted to play in the Football League – but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
For me, it’s important to keep my head down and work as hard as I can at every opportunity.
My short-term goal is just to focus on my football at Lynn.
Of course I want to be a regular at a club I love but for now it’s just about hard work and patience.
The facts are…
Name: Joe Gascoigne
Date of birth:
November 11, 2001
Birth place: King’s Lynn
Grew up in: Heacham
Secondary School: Smithdon
Position: Centre midfield
Current club: King’s Lynn Town
Former clubs (selected): Heacham Minors, Norwich City
Sporting hero: Ronaldinho
• Joe played against Romeo Beckham, when he was at Arsenal Academy, while his dad David watched. The young Linnet even scored a goal, which is, by his own admission, unlike him.
• On a car journey, Gascoigne loves nothing more than listening to 80s music. He describes it as proper music and lists How Will I Know? by Whitney Houston as one of his favourite songs.
• The former Smithdon pupil once collapsed half way round his school cross country. He was very cold and hadn’t warmed up.
• Joe has got all of his GCSEs but still doesn’t know his alphabet. He gets stuck after the letter M.
• The talented central midfielder’s face is proudly displayed on the Heacham FC wall of fame – even if Joe says he looks horrible in the picture!
Restaurant or takeaway?
Film or series?
Bath or shower?
Tea or coffee?
Sweet or savoury?
Summer or winter?
Day or night?
Holiday or staycation?
Least favourite: Olives
Favourite TV programme: Last Chance U
Least favourite: N/A
Favourite band/musician: Drake/Michael Jackson
Any heavy metal
Favourite film: Legend
Least favourite: Transformers
Answers in italics