'We hope this marks a turning point in Gateshead FC’s history' - Council and fan group reaction as takeover nears completion
Gateshead Council and the Football Supporters' Federation have welcomed the news that two Gateshead supporters are fronting a consortium that is closing in on a takeover of the National League club.
It is just under three months since FSF representative Michael Brunskill attended the first ever meeting of the Gateshead Soul supporters club and the federation has kept a close eye on events ever since.
The council have also been heavily involved at Gateshead over the last six months and took action over a unpaid rent bill by evicting the club from the International Stadium in March.
Thursday brought a breakthrough in the takeover saga at the club as supporters Neil Pinkerton and Trevor Clark finally pushed through a deal to end Dr Ranjan Varghese’s troubled 12-month tenure.
There are still hurdles to clear for the consortium as they await clearance from the Football Association and the National League before formally completing the deal.
Their focus will then switch the appealing the sanctions placed against the club by the National League after Gateshead were found to have made “multiple breaches” of financial regulations.
The new owners have until the close of business on Monday to formally appeal against the sanctions, which included a £3,500 fine and the denial of a licence to compete in next season’s National League.
The new owners will have to prove that they have the funds to compete in non-league’s top tier next season and pay off the existing debts to all creditors.
Attention will then turn towards naming a new board of directors and ensuring that the club has a squad capable of competing next season.
But no matter what happens, Gateshead supporters will have a football club next season – something that has been in serious doubt over the last two months.
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The Echo approached Gateshead Council for comment on the news and a spokesperson praised the work undertaken by the supporters and confirmed that they would be working with the new owners to allow the club to continue hosting games at the International Stadium.
The spokesperson said "We are pleased the future of Gateshead Football Club has been secured.
“The club is an important part of the sporting heritage of Gateshead and the Council will work closely with the club to continue to make it an asset for the local community.
"We are in discussions with the new owners to agree a way forward for the club to remain at Gateshead International Stadium."
The FSF also hailed the efforts and the commitment of the Gateshead Soul group and the club’s new owners.
An FSF representative said “After a lot of bad news days, we hope this marks a turning point in Gateshead FC’s history. This is a good news day, at last.
“Particular congratulations must go to our affiliates at Gateshead Soul who have been relentless in their fight to save the club.
“While there’s still a lot of work to be done their commitment has been hugely influential in showing everyone that Gateshead is a club with a viable future.”