FORMER Hartlepool United striker James Brown has left Conference side Gateshead - to start a new career as a driving instructor.
The 27-year-old, who has played nine games for the Tynesiders this season, has left the club by mutual consent.
It is understood he is to take up a new career as a driving instructor, while continuing to play football on a part-time basis.
Brown was highly-rated as a youngster coming through the ranks at Pools and went on to score 37 goals in 200 appearances for the club despite being dogged by serious knee injuries.
He left in May 2012 after eight years at Pools, to join Gateshead.
A Gateshead statement said: “Frontman Brown has ended his two-and-a-half-year stay at the club.
“The 27-year-old made his last appearance for Gateshead at Forest Green Rovers a month ago.
“We wish James all the best for the future.”
Brown only started three games this season and failed to score with injuries limiting the former Pools striker to 70 league appearances at the Heed, scoring nine goals in two-and-half-year stay.
Soccer Saturday presenter Jeff Stelling always used to celebrate goals from the forward with his musical version of the all-singing-all-dancing James Brown doll.
The Hartlepool-born Sky Sports presenter Jeff would unleash the doll on the desk when his namesake Brown hit the net.
Meanwhile, Gateshead have signed defender Valentin Gjokaj, who was released by Derby County in May.
Albania Under-21 international Gjokaj made six first team appearances for the Rams, and also spent time on loan at Carlisle and Barnet.
The 21-year-old has joined Conference club Gateshead on non-contract terms.