By Dominic Scurr
ALISHA Henry was thrown in at the deep end at Gateshead FC back in January when she succeeded long-serving general manager Mike Coulson.
It was sink or swim for the club’s commercial manager, who was thrust into the demanding new position under difficult and turbulent circumstances. Fortunately, the dust has now settled and things are progressing steadily, for Alisha at least.
“It’s been a tough few months, it was always going to be hard after Mike (Coulson) left,” she admitted.
“They were very big shoes to fill but I think I’ve settled into the role now, picked up the pieces so to speak.
“Straight away, I needed to get the EFL application completed or else we wouldn’t have been allowed to compete in the play-offs should we finish in the top seven.
“But that’s all sorted and I’m now working on the National League application in the event we don’t get promoted as well as speaking with the manager Ben Clark about next season with players, budgets things like that.”
Alisha’s appointment was met with some skepticism by the Heed Army as the popular Mike Coulson ended his near 30-year association with the club to be replaced by a recent recruit in her 20s.
“I’ve noticed a few concerns regarding my experience in this sort of position,” continued the former South Shields commercial manager.
“I’d just like to reassure fans that I’ve worked in football now for five years and this sort of role isn’t new to me.
“To get thrown in the deep end as soon as Mike left with a lot of applications and things like that still to do, it was quite daunting but I’ve worked hard and dealt with what has been thrown my way.
“I’ve worked in a number of different roles and areas in football over the years, so although I don’t have the experience of someone like Mike Coulson, I think I still have plenty of experience and knowledge that makes me suited to being general manager here at Gateshead.
“I’m still quite young, I’ve got plenty of new ideas and I’m committed to helping this club do well.
“I work very closely with the team here including Dom (Scurr), Ben and Busted (Ian Watson) just to make sure the day to day running of the club goes as smoothly as possible.
“I believe the backroom staff has mirrored the togetherness shown by the first-team, we’re all in it together.
“For myself, things are going quite well but we’re coming up to a busy period of the season and an uncertain period as well because we don’t really know what our situation will be for next season so we’re just planning as best we can for that.
“I am still commercial manager as well so I’m responsible for that but there’s plenty of people helping out on that side of things as well.
“There’s a lot of stuff at the club that we have no control over but all the things I do have control over are going well and progressing nicely.
“We’ve got an initial budget to bring players in and tie players down but we’re also in a position where we don’t know what league we’ll be playing in and who will be running the club at the start of the new season.
“As of last Friday, I’ve also been working with Bernard McWilliams from the supporters’ club as we look to find new owners to take the club forward.
“In regards to the sale of the club, I won’t be commenting on any individuals or groups at this stage.
“All I will say is that we have had a lot of initial interest so will be working closely with the supporters’ group to move that forward.”