GATESHEAD FC owners Richard and Julie Bennett have completed the sale of the club to businessman Dr Ranjan Varghese with the approval of the National League and Football Association.
New owner Dr Varghese is an experienced businessman currently on the board of directors of Steel Ships Limited based in Hong Kong. He will assume the role as Chairman with immediate effect as Richard Bennett steps down. Dr Varghese’s associate Mr Michael Williams is appointed to the club’s board as Operations Director.
The club was initially put up for sale at the end of the 2017/18 season with a deal being agreed in principle to sell Gateshead FC back in May. However, this proposed takeover fell through as it failed to meet certain aspects of the National League’s criteria.
Following the collapse, the Bennetts announced that they would submit a reduced budget for the 2018/19 season, allowing Gateshead to maintain their place in the National League as a professional outfit while granting more time for a new owner to be found.
And with just over a week until the National League season commences on 4 August, the formal takeover of the club is now officially complete.
The sale ends the Bennett’s three-year tenure as owners of the National League club, overseeing 9th, 8th and 17th place finishes as well as an FA Trophy semi-final.
Following the takeover, Richard Bennett commented: “Both Julie and myself are delighted to have completed a deal ahead of the forthcoming season, the acquisition of the club by Dr Varghese is fantastic news for everyone and comes at just the right time.
“The transfer has taken a while to complete but it has been worth the effort, gaining both National League and FA approval ahead of the acquisition has meant Dr Varghese can now press on with his team and implement their business plan.
He added: “We would like to thank everyone associated with the club, staff, volunteers and of course the supporters for all of their help and support over the last three years, we’ve had a great time at Gateshead and only wish we had been able to bring more success for everyone.
“We would like to wish everyone at the club all the best for the future.”
Neal Molloy, Associate Solicitor at Peter Millican Law*, advised Richard and Julie Bennett on the sale of Gateshead Football Club, he said: “We’ve worked closely with all parties to ensure that this sale has progressed efficiently and smoothly.
“The best interests of the club and the fans have been at the core of the deal, which we are pleased to have completed, allowing the club to focus now on the new season ahead.”