Media Watch - Grounds for hope over new Gateshead FC stadium

23/08/2012, by Steve Brown, Evening Chronicle

GRAHAM WOOD insists Gateshead's plans for a new stadium remain "on track."

However, the Tynesiders chairman admits to having been left frustrated by delays in the progress of the venture.

Despite a solid start to the Blue Square Bet Premier season, just 531 turned up at the 11,800-capacity International Stadium for Saturday's home game against Forest Green Rovers.

The club needs crowds of around 3,000 to break even at the International Stadium.

The new purpose-built ground – proposed for Prince Consort Road on the site of the old North Durham Rugby and Cricket Club opposite the Civic Centre – would help alleviate that shortfall.

Two sets of tenants have thus far fallen through, but Wood is confident a third option is nearing fruition.

He said: "The stadium is still progressing, although much slower than I or anyone else would like.

"However, we are still on the right track and it is hugely important we get there.

"We really could not sustain a team at the same level at the International Stadium for as long as we could at a new purpose-built stadium.

"It opens up an awful lot more avenues fur us.

"If we are going to have a sustainable future, we cannot expect me to bankroll it forever. My pockets are not that deep!

"Moving to a new stadium always brings the crowds in and in our case a purpose-built football stadium will create a better atmosphere.

"Progress is slow, frustratingly so, but we are moving forward."

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