Gateshead FC owner and chairman Ranjan Varghese has released a statement to the club’s supporters after a turbulent week which saw key player Fraser Kerr sold to Hartlepool United, as well as reports of Scott Barrow being touted to other clubs and manager Ben Clark considering his future with the Tynesiders.
The Heed, currently under a transfer embargo, are only out of the Vanarama National League play-off places on goal difference despite the constraints of this season, but there has been considerable concern from supporters at the way the club is being run. Varghese has opted to share a statement, in which he says the club need at least 2,000 fans at home games in order to progress, with the club’s revenue ‘one of the lowest in the National League and below average compared with the National League North.’
Here is the statement in full:
Dear Heed Army and the great fans of Gateshead Football Club!
I understand and see that there is some unhappiness regarding the non-footballing side of the club. It is unfortunate for fans to be in this situation but please understand we have the best interests at heart as we continue to make the club sustainable for years to come.
We had a productive meeting with the National League this afternoon at the International Stadium.
In the meeting, the league explained the rules and specified what we as a club need to do in order to lift the embargo and release the bond.
We will be working closely with the league in order to give them confidence in the financial stability of the club. I felt the meeting was positive and the National League has guaranteed their support of the club while providing advice and mentorship.
We will be supplying a revised budget as soon as possible which will be reviewed and then a decision regarding the bond and transfer embargo will be made by the National League.
As I mentioned straight after the acquisition of the club back in July, we need to run a tight ship and run the club in a sustainable and financially healthy manner.
We have previously stipulated that the club’s revenue is one of the lowest in the National League and below average compared with the National League North.
Gateshead Football Club needs strong fan support, as everyone is aware, to make this club consistently sustainable. We need the support of at least 2,000 fans at the International Stadium in order to help take the club to new heights.
This has been the case previously as former owners have also urged and requested the community for such support and we do see some small increases in the turnstile numbers from time to time.
Despite the difficulties we face as well as the extremely low match attendances, we have worked hard in order to achieve financial sustainability and we are very close to achieving this so that the club survives on its own without external help or investment.
It was a long and stringent vetting process for us to come into the acquisition of the club. Because of this, our entry into the club happened only in the last week of July 2018, beginning in August 2018. Our aim was to come into the club by May 2018.
The National League has been watchful over our performance and has intervened with a bond and an embargo – which was important and has helped us into a tough mentorship.
I have had to make some tough decisions here in support of this and have tightened our belts to help breathe new life into the club, which is absolutely essential.
We are football people and I would like to request that everyone gets behind the lads and support them – it’s the only request I have.
Please be the evangelists of our club and spread good vibes around the country like you have all season.
With the highest amount of gratitude and assurance, we will do our best to keep the club infrastructure in such a way that our lads get the best support and comfort to deliver peak performance.
Owner & Chairman
Gateshead Football Club