Gateshead owner Ranjan Varghese releases statement over financial future of club and why he needs crowds of 2,000 fans

Gateshead FC owner Ranjan Varghese has released a statement about the financial future of the club after a meeting with the National League.

By Ross Gregory
Friday, 01 March, 2019, 15:57
Action from Gateshead's game against Hartlepool earlier this season.

Gateshead are under a transfer embargo after the National league requested further details on their finances.

The departure of manager Steve Watson and sale of Fraser Kerr to Hartlepool this week has led to increased concern over the long-term stability of the club.

Manager Ben Clark confirmed that he was unaware of the deal until hours before it was completed while the departures of Kerr and top goalscorer Scott Boden have left Clark with just 14 outfield players in his squad for tomorrow’s trip to Aldershot Town.

A meeting today failed to get the embargo lifted, but Varghese - who took over the club in the summer from Richard Bennett - says talks were positive and he will be providing a fresh budget for the National League to look at.

And in a lengthy statement to Heed fans, he called on them to be' evangelists of our club and spread good vibes around the country' as he looks to create a sustainable model.

It read: "Dear Heed Army and the great fans of Gateshead Football Club!

"I understand and see that there is some unhappiness regarding the non-footballing side of the club.

"We had a productive meeting with the National League this afternoon at the International Stadium.

"In the meeting, the league explained the rules and specified what we as a club need to do in order to lift the embargo and release the bond.

"We will be working closely with the league in order to give them confidence in the financial stability of the club. I felt the meeting was positive and the National League has guaranteed their support of the club while providing advice and mentorship.

"We will be supplying a revised budget as soon as possible which will be reviewed and then a decision regarding the bond and transfer embargo will be made by the National League.

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"As I mentioned straight after the acquisition of the club back in July, we need to run a tight ship and run the club in a sustainable and financially healthy manner.

"We need strong fan support as everyone is aware that to make this club consistently sustainable, we need the support of at least 2,000 fans at the International Stadium which would help take the club to new heights.

"This has been the case previously as former owners have also urged and requested the community for such support and we do see some small increases in the turnstile numbers from time to time.

"Despite the difficulties we face as well as the extremely low match attendances, we have worked hard in order to achieve financial sustainability and we are very close to achieving this so that the club survives on its own without external help or investment.

"It was a long and stringent vetting process for us to come into the acquisition of the club. Because of this, our entry into the club happened only in the last week of July 2018, beginning in August 2018. Our aim was to come into the club by May 2018.

"The National League has been watchful over our performance and has intervened with a bond and an embargo -which was important and has helped us into a tough mentorship.

"I have had to make some tough decisions here in support of this and have tightened our belts to help breathe new life into the club, which is absolutely essential.

"We are football people and I would like to request that everyone gets behind the lads and support them - it's the only request I have.

"Please be the evangelists of our club and spread good vibes around the country like you have all season.

"With the highest amount of gratitude and assurance, we will do our best to keep the club infrastructure in such a way that our lads get the best support and comfort to deliver peak performance."