Gateshead FC Close to Closure

12/08/2004
It can be confirmed that Gateshead FC are in grave danger of being unable to start the new UniBond League season a week on Saturday and are on the verge of going out of existence.

Gateshead team boss Derek Bell, latterly Director of Football and Deputy Chairman, described the clubs fresh plight as “devastating”.  Bell, worked hard to safeguard the future of Gateshead FC after the club hit financial trouble towards the end of last season.  Bell, who stepped into the breach after Mike Coulson resigned as Chairman, worked alongside public relations company Red Monkey to try and find the club new owners/backers.

The players completed a successful campaign in the UniBond League First Division last season that saw them go the last month of the campaign without any wages.  A top six finish earned the club a place in a re-constructed UniBond Premier Division for the forthcoming season.

Shortly after the end of last season, Bell was delighted to announce that the club would be safe to carry on and that a bright future lay ahead.  In early June, Gateshead-born local businessman Mick Harland was revealed as the new Gateshead FC Chairman.  However, with the new season just around the corner, Mick Harland has decided not to proceed in taking over the majority shareholding of the club, whilst the new sponsors have withdrawn their interest.

Derek Bell, who had just concluded negotiations with a local junior club to come into Gateshead Football Club and provide youth teams from Under 7’s to Under 14’s, revealed the news to players, staff and supporters at the International Stadium on Tuesday evening.

On the playing front, Bell was close to tying up the signature of left-sided player Mark Atkinson from Blyth Spartans, whilst midfielders Chris Moore and Craig Robson were ready to join from Bishop Auckland.  Club Captain Paul Thompson was to be offered a new and improved deal and all of the playing staff had been given verbal assurances that they would be paid come August 21st.

With no money now forthcoming, Bell said he could not possibly ask the players to stay at the club without being able to pay them. Both Gateshead Council and the UniBond League have been supportive to Derek Bell and the club.  However, without a quick cash investment it looks as though football will cease to be at the International Stadium this season and that the UniBond League Premier Division will operate with one less team.

As it currently stands, Gateshead FC is still in existence, but without anyone willing to take the club over in the next week or so, a club with a history that goes back to 1930 and with such potential could go under.

If there is anyone able to offer any financial help or who would have a genuine interest in taking over the club, please contact Derek Bell on 07791089613

Bell is working closely with the FA, the Durham FA, the UniBond League and Gateshead Council in order to resolve the crisis.  He is also in discussions with local business people in a bid to keep the club afloat.

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