Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

New Role for Wood. but Aim Still the Same; NATIONAL LEAGUE

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

New Role for Wood. but Aim Still the Same; NATIONAL LEAGUE

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeff Bowron

GATESHEAD have announced former chairman and owner Graham Wood has taken on an ambassadorial role at the club.

The 71-year-old has been handed the title of club president and will no longer sit on the board, now led by current owner Richard Bennett.

IBennett and wife Julie took over the club in the summer, with Wood initially given a role as director of football.

Now former Sunderland vicechairman Wood has moved upstairs, but will remain an offi-cial of the club.

"I'm delighted that Graham has taken up this new role within the club," said Bennett. "It is an honour richly deserved.

"The role represents recognition for all the hard work and effort that he has put into Gateshead Football Club over the last nine years."

Wood and Bennett's aim remains the same, to get Gateshead back into the Football League where they last plied their trade in 1960.

That task continues away at Tranmere Rovers tomorrow, as the Heed try to secure a place at Wembley via the Vanarama National League play-offs.

They now have no chance of reaching the famous stadium in the FA Trophy, having lost this week's dramatic quarter-final replay at home to Halifax Town on penalties.

Wood invested almost three and a half million pounds over nine years and has been instrumental in Gateshead's rise.

The Tynesiders are now one of the top clubs outside the Football League and are unrecognisable from the outfit Wood inherited back in 2006.

The Heed were a Northern Premier Club club going nowhere - the impact the multimillionaire made at his hometown club borne out by impressive statistics.

In his first year at Gateshead the total income was PS67,500 - last season it had risen to over PS1m.

Back in 2006 the average attendance at the International Stadium was just 176, while last season that figure was 1,179.

Gateshead also reached Wembley for the first time, while consecutive promotions were registered under boss Ian Bogie.

Getting to Wembley in the Conference play-off final, however, proved to be a bitter-sweet day for Wood.

"The back-to-back promotions were tremendous, Gary Mills will always be remembered for taking us to Wembley in his first season," he said. …

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