Gateshead FC put up for sale for £1 as controversial owners look to cut ties
Gateshead owner Dr Ranjan Varghese has put the club up for sale for £1 as he looks to bring an end to his nine-month reign at the International Stadium.
The club’s chief financial advisor Joseph Cala contacted a member of Gateshead Supporters Club on Friday afternoon to inform him of the decision.A meeting was hastily arranged at the International Stadium and a statement was released on behalf of Varghese confirming that the club was now on the market.
It read: "Gateshead Football Club owner and chariman Ranjan Varghese has publicly announced that the club is up for sale.
"Following talks with Gateshead supporters' association, it has been agreed that the club is now up for sale for £1 and the club will work with representitives from the supporters association to find a new buyer.
"Varghese has been owner of Gateshead Football Club since July 2018 and is still committed to run the club until 31st May once the £200,000 bond is returned by the National League."
The Hong Kong-based businessman completed the purchase of the National League club in May, but his reign has been littered with controversy and supporter disillusionment.The club has been under a National League transfer embargo since September and that remains in place.Over the last six weeks top goalscorer Scott Boden and key defender Fraser Kerr have been sold to Chesterfield and Hartlepool United respectively, leaving managed Ben Clark only 14 outfield players to call upon.Club captain Scott Barrow accused Cala of offering his services to a number of clubs less than 24 hours after rejecting a bid from National League rivals Harrogate Town.Long-serving general manager Mike Coulson also left the club in February after growing frustrated with events at the International Stadium.But it is the presence of Cala that has caused the most concern from the Gateshead faithful.Furious and frustrated supporters met on Thursday evening to discuss the best way forward and plans were put together to undertake a “peaceful” protest after Saturday’s game against Barnet.Those protests have now been placed on hold after news of the sale was announced.
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Gateshead Soul Chairman Bernard McWilliams said: "I'd like to thank Ranjan and Joe (Cala) for working with us as fans to look at a way to resolve matters off the pitch and show the same unity that we have shown on the pitch throughout the season.
"To that end, I would thank the fans for their support and as we now have a resolution in place, we would respectfully ask them to stand down from the planned protest and get behind Ben and the lads on Saturday.
"I'm looking forward to working with the club and finding prospective buyers that will take us onto next season."
Gateshead FC General Manager Alisha Henry added: "After meeting with the club and Bernard, I feel this is the best possible solution for the club to move forward.
"I will be working closely with the fan group in vetting any new owner, to make sure the club can move into next season successfully."
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