It’s a sunny August afternoon at Gateshead International Stadium, and the native Tynesiders are running rampant in a league contest against Macclesfield writes Alex Jackson
An early Fraser Kerr goal is followed a Jordan Burrow header just before half-time, and the Silkmen’s resistance withers further in the second half before culminating in Jordan Preston beating the offside trap and slotting home to deliver three points.
Then the attendance is announced: 633, 73 of them travellers from Cheshire.
There’s the traditional smattering of applause for the away contingent’s efforts, but the disgust in the crowd can be clearly felt behind it. Newcastle aren’t playing today and are away anyway, and Sunderland are a late kickoff.
Meanwhile, a few stops down the Tyne and Wear Metro, South Shields entertained Bridlington Town in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup. The home side ran out 3-1 winners. The crowd was over 1,400 people. This is not a rare occurrence for the NPL Division One North side.
This is an all too familiar story for Gateshead FC, but even by these standards the club’s local presence seems to be at an all-time low. The 633 crowd once would have been poor for a midweek fixture, indeed it was just four more people than the crowd they received for a Tuesday night fixture against Guiseley just a fortnight before, and was a decline from the crowd that saw the Heed run out 3-0 winners against Torquay the Saturday prior.