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FOOTBALL: ASPRILLA'S BACK; Tino loves North East so much he's returning ... with Darlington!

Byline: SIMON BIRD

TINO ASPRILLA last night signed for Third Division Darlington as club chairman George Reynolds pulled off one of the transfer coups of the season.

The former Newcastle United star will spearhead the Quakers attack after agreeing personal terms with Reynolds last night.

Colombian international Asprilla was a massive hit on Tyneside during the heady days of Kevin Keegan's reign at Newcastle, although he was ultimately blamed for costing them the title in 1996.

He has been desperate for a return to the North East after being released by Colombian side Atletico Nacional and failing to find a club this summer. Asprilla, 32, said last night: "I am delighted to be back. I love the North East and hope to do well for Darlington."

Reynolds, who failed in his bid to lure Paul Gascoigne last month, now has the next-best thing as Darlo prepare to move into a new 25,000 capacity stadium at Christmas.

Reynolds said: "Asprilla has become a big friend of mine over the last few weeks. We've gelled very well and I'm over the moon that he's joined us."

Asprilla cost Newcastle pounds 7.5million in February 1996 when Keegan signed him from Parma, but Keegan's successor Kenny Dalglish sold him back to the Serie A club less than two years later for pounds 6.5m.

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ASPRILLA: Star at St James' Park
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 26, 2002
Words:230
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