Gateshead boss Ben Clark sacked by email after nine-year association with club

Gateshead have sacked manager Ben Clark after a nine-year association with the club.
Gateshead have sacked manager Ben Clark after a nine-year association with the club.
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Gateshead owner Dr Ranjan Varghese has continued his cost-cutting cull by sacking manager Ben Clark.

The Heed legend replaced Steve Watson in the home dugout at the International Stadium in January - but his nine-year association with the club was brought to an end by email on Tuesday afternoon.

Clark joined Gateshead after his release from Hartlepool United at the end of the 2009/10 season and went on to become a firm fan favourite over the next nine years.

The former Manchester United and Sunderland trainee was Heed captain when the club walked out at Wembley for the first and only time in the Conference play-off final against Cambridge United in May 2014.

He had a short spell as the club’s caretaker manager following the departure of Malcolm Crosby and returned to the dugout in January this year when Steve Watson was tempted away by National League North club York City.

Clark becomes the latest key figure to leave and he was not the only person to leave the club on Tuesday as popular press officer Dominic Scurr also received an email confirming that his services were no longer needed.

Their departure means that club captain Scott Barrow is the only full-time employee left at the club - but the Welsh wing-back’s contract expires at the end of June.

Meanwhile, Varghese has released a statement confirming that the club are looking at relocating next season and that they are close to finalising a playing budget for the new campaign.

The statement was released on a new “official” Twitter account set up for the club after supporters took back control of the previous account on Tuesday afternoon.

In the statement Varghese said “It has become more and more apparent to fans, players, officials, staff and sponsors that the International Stadium is not ideal and we have been working behind the scenes to identify an appropriate venue that can become our new home.

“We are currently exploring several options and expect to make an exciting announcement in the coming weeks.

“Please rest assured that we are working towards long-term sustainability. It has been a painful process but we are getting there.”

There has been speculation that Kingston Park - home of Newcastle Falcons - is one of the venues that has been identified as a possible new venue.

Gateshead’s players and staff were due to be paid on Tuesday, but for the second consecutive month they have not received their wages on time.