Gateshead FC hit another landmark as supporters group Gateshead Soul officially recognised as shareholders

Friday was another landmark day for Gateshead after supporters group Gateshead Soul were officially recognised as shareholders of the National League North club

Saturday, 20th February 2021, 1:26 pm
Gateshead FC hit another landmark as supporters group Gateshead Soul officially recognised as shareholders

It is just over two years since an initial meeting of disgruntled Gateshead supporters met to discuss their concerns over the ownership of Hong Kong businessmen Dr Ranjan Varghese and his controversial financial advisor Joseph Cala.

With the guidance of the Football Supporters Association, the supporters would hold several more meetings to officially launch the Gateshead Soul group.

The group formed part of the supporter-led consortium that officially completed a takeover of the club in May 2019 and Soul member Neil Pinkerton was installed as the club’s new chairman.

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The new board oversaw a number of changes at the International Stadium and their first season saw the Heed finish in the National League North play-offs – but thoughts of an immediate return to non-league’s top tier were ended by a semi-final defeat at Boston United.

Gateshead Soul chairman Bernard McWilliams replaced local businessman Trevor Clark as the club’s vice-chairman last summer and he has worked hard with the club’s board to guide the club through the challenges provided by the Covid-19 pandemic.

After the group were officially recognised as a shareholder at Companies House, McWilliams hailed the efforts of the Gateshead Soul group over the last two years.

He told The Echo: “What we as fans have achieved and in such a short time is amazing.

“I personally would like to thank each and every Soul contributor, for their invaluable financial support.

“We can truly say this club is a Fans led club and that is right at the very heart of the board.

“Every board member is committed to this club for the benefit of the wider community within Gateshead and that is why they have also put their hands in their pockets to keep the club moving forward.

“Many challenges lie ahead, especially with the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Thankfully, the season has been declared null and void, and this means we can concentrate on financial security.

“The journey begins to rebuild in readiness for the 2021-2022 season and let’s hope by then, we are able to welcome fans back where they belong, in the stands and terraces.”