Hartlepool Ground Share Agreed
Gateshead have struck a deal to stage at least seven of their remaining 12 Blue Square Bet Premier home games at Hartlepool United's Victoria Park Stadium.
With pitch problems continuing at the International Stadium the club has been pro-active in seeking a solution and are indebted to Hartlepool United for the use of their 7,856 capacity ground.
This Tuesday's Conference clash with Blue Square Bet Premier joint-leaders Wrexham will be the first game to be staged at Victoria Park.
The other games confirmed are Braintree Town (2/3), Hereford United (19/3), Grimsby Town (26/3), Southport (30/3), Nuneaton Town (9/4) and Stockport County (16/4).
Attempts will be made to stage the Newport County and Hyde games at Victoria Park but this will require the co-operation of other clubs.
Chairman Graham Wood is both delighted and grateful that Hartlepool United have come to the club's aid at this difficult time for the club.
"In what has turned out to be the season from hell Hartlepool have been very helpful and understanding regarding the predicament we have found ourselves in," said Wood.
"It's great to have a neighbour so willing to help. It's a tremendous gesture on their part and one that we really appreciate.
"They could not have been more accommodating. Everyone we spoke to at the club wanted to help us as much as they could.
"I have been very impressed with Hartlepool during our negotiations with the club.
"We will now be able to stage at least seven of our remaining home games at their well appointed Victoria Park stadium.
"The pitch is very good, which will suit us, and there should be a good atmosphere - it will be a bonus to play a 'home' game on a ground without a track around it.
"While it is disappointing not to be able to play at the International Stadium it will be an enjoyable experience playing at Victoria Park and one we are looking forward to.
"There is obviously an element of travel and inconvenience for our fans but we need them to stick by us and make every effort to attend the games at Victoria Park.
"This unsatisfactory situation is not of our making and we need as much backing as possible over the next two and a half months."
The 1,600 capacity main stand at Victoria Park, the Cyril Knowles Stand, will be used for the Conference games and this includes the board room, sponsors lounge and dressing rooms.
The Centenary Bar is also housed in this stand and will be available to supporters on matchdays.
In a reciprocal gesture Hartlepool United season ticket holders will be given reduced admission to Gateshead games at Victoria Park, £10 and £5 concessions.
A deal has been agreed with the the nearby Wetherspoons that Gateshead fans will get 20% off the price of food on
the production of their Season Ticket or Supporters Club membership card.
This applies to The king John's Tavern Wetherspoons in Hartlepool, which is within five minutes walking distance of the ground - it does not apply to the Ward Jackson Wetherspoons.
"Unfortunately we can't do anything at the King John's Tavern for fans that do not fall into either category for the Wrexham game but a ticket from the previous Gateshead game at Victoria Park will then be able to be used."
The Supporters Club intend to run transport for the games at Hartlepool which is an approximately 30 miles down the coast and can be reached via the A1 or A19.
Gateshead have a strong Hartlepool connection with captain Ben Clark playing 185 games for Pools during six years at the club.
Hartlepool cult hero James Brown spent eight years at Victoria Park scoring 37 goals in 200 games before he joined Gateshead in the summer.
Manager Anth Smith had a loan spell at Hartlepool during his playing his career at Sunderland and assistant-manager David Rush briefly played for Pools at the back end of his career.
"I had an enjoyable time at Hartlepool in the early 1990s," said Smith "they are a good club and Victoria Park is an impressive ground with a good playing surface.
"It will be a home form home for us. The lads will enjoy playing there and it will be good to play in the North East again.
"Obviously it is disappointing not to be able to play at the International Stadium but we're grateful for Hartlepool's support and there should be a decent atmosphere at Victoria Park."
Another venue meanwhile will need to be found for for the remaining three or five Blue Square Bet Premier home games though a return to the International Stadium has not been ruled out.
A great deal of remedial work, including re-turfing, has been undertaken and the situation will continue to be monitored.
GATESHEAD FC SUPPORTERS CLUB TRAVEL TO VICTORIA PARK
Gateshead FC Supporters Club are organising return travel at just £6 per person for the games at Hartlepool's Victoria Park stadium.
Depart: 6:00pm Tuesdays & 1:00pm Saturdays
Pick ups: Gateshead Civic Centre, Heworth Metro, Concord Bus Station (Washington).
* Drop-offs at same locations on return journey
**** URGENT!! Bookings needed NOW! ****
Contact Travel Co-Ordinator Tony Carter on 07713-723586 or Bernard McWilliams on 07710075871, alternatively email: firstname.lastname@example.org