Gazza marked his return to the football pitch by scoring a penalty. The ex-England star was taking part in a fund-raising match for cash-strapped Darlington.
The Quakers are in administration and organised a match between an Allstars XI and Darlo’s 1999-2000 play-off team. Pre-match rumours suggested Gazza had pulled out with a foot injury, but he captained the All-Stars to a 5-3 victory.
He said: “I haven’t played for about three-and-a-half years now, but I turned out because it’s a good cause. Darlington Football Club are a North-East team and it means a lot to me.
“Darlington is a big club, and they don’t deserve what has happened to them. They deserve better than that. It’s great to be here, and it is good for me as well.
“My problems are never going to be behind me. Every street corner has a pub on it; there are drugs on every street corner. Booze is everywhere.
“But at the moment I don’t want to take the booze and I don’t want to be using again. I’m going to be recovering for the rest of my life, but I am sober when I am happy.”