Gateshead owner reveals he considered folding club and calls on Newcastle and Sunderland fans for help

Gateshead manager Steve Watson.
Gateshead manager Steve Watson.
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Gateshead owner Richard Bennett admitted he had thought about folding the club after a takeover deal collapsed – but says he will continue to run it until a buyer can be found.

Bennett, co-owner with his wife Julie, announced this week that a deal with a Singapore-based businessman was off after the would-be buyer couldn’t satisfy National League criteria.

Gateshead will revert back to a part-time model next season, as they look to cut their costs with the Bennetts unable to put any more of their own money into the running of the club.

The future of manager Steve Watson is set to be resolved in the next 24 hours, with the club hoping he will stay, but Bennett admits he wasn’t sure if there would be a club at one stage over the weekend.

“Myself and Julie and Brian had some chats about the future of the club,” he told the North East Football Podcast.

“I’m not going to deny, administration and liquidation were certainly part of that process because we’re at a point where we can’t put any more money in.

“We didn’t want to be the ones to fold the club and we felt maybe we could operate on a reduced cost.

“We did seriously think about folding as an option. The difficulty about footbal is it’s fluid, it changes a lot. You might have some unexpected expenditure. Those sorts of things do go through your mind, and you’re thinking if we’re going to be on a reduced budget, will fans stay away and go and support teams who are flying high on a higher budget.

“All these come into your mind but the most important thing that came out of all of this is that we want Gateshead to continue. we feel a deal will be done at some point and regardless we feel the fans deserve a football club and we want to try and save that.”

Bennett remains hopeful a new buyer can be found, but in the meantime will try and get the club on a stronger financial footing.

And he has called on Newcastle and Sunderland fans – as well as the people of Gateshead – to get behind their cause.

“I still remain optimistic that someone will come in,” he added.

“Gateshead is lucky with its demographic. What we want is Newcastle and Sunderland supporters to see Gateshead as their second club and we’ll continue to try and put deals together to attract those to come and follow us.”