Gateshead takeover ON as former Rochdale chairman steps in to save National League outfit

Former Rochdale chairman Chris Dunphy has agreed a deal in principle to take over National League club Gateshead.

By Mark Carruthers
Friday, 29 March, 2019, 14:31
Prospective new Gateshead owner Chris Dunphy.

The deal was struck after two-hour talks with the club’s chief financial officer Joe Cala on a dramatic day at the International Stadium.

Earlier the club were thrown out of their home ground over an unpaid bill.

But light appears to be at the end of the tunnel with a deal struck with Dunphy.

Speaking exclusively to the Echo, Dunphy said: "We are absolutely delighted.

"We are not there yet and it is in principle, but both Bill and I are delighted to get involved.

"There is enormous potential and we are quite excited about it.

"The one thing we are looking forward to is being around the people up here."

This morning club staff were asked to collect their belongings and move out of their offices on Friday lunchtime as Gateshead Council took action over an unpaid rent bill. The club’s Chief Financial Officer Joseph Cala was escorted out of the stadium on by staff.

The Echo has also learnt that Gateshead players have still not been paid for the month of March and had expected to receive their wages on Friday.

Dunphy travelled to the North East alongside business partner Bill Goodwin and held face-to-face talks with Cala and a deal was agreed in principle.

The National League have been informed of the deal and Dunphy discussed the situation with Chief Executive Mike Tattersall.

The deal is now in the hands of legal teams and Dunphy is keen to take control of the club within the next ten days.

"Joe Cala didn’t understand that a football club is about the people and the supporters," said Dunphy.

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"It’s a fantastic thing to be involved with and I can only see us going from strength-to-strength."

The club’s controversial Chief Financial Advisor Cala, said: “We need to allow them to do the appropriate due diligence.

"The ball is in their court now, I told them that they can take over now as I am happy to leave.

"They will have their lawyers come in and if they are happy, they will take over."

Goodwin added: “I don’t like the word owner.

“The club belongs to the supporters, not an owner.

“All I want to do is get it back to a place to where it should be and that will be done by the local people.

“We will give support, ideas and help it move that way.”

Gateshead General Manager Alisha Henry expressed her delighted that a deal had been struck.

“We are delighted that the process is coming to an end," she said.

“As soon as we spoke to Chris we knew he was the right candidate to take us forwards.

“The concern was always for the future of this club and we feel that we have the right people to move us forward and make us sustainable.

“Their vision is a perfect fit for the club.”