Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bennetts Looking to Sell Gateshead

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bennetts Looking to Sell Gateshead

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF BOWRON

VANARAMA National League club Gateshead have been thrown into turmoil less than three weeks before the end of the season.

Joint owners Richard and Julie Bennett have announced they are to pull out of the club after three years at the helm.

The pair have ploughed in around PS3million during their time in charge, having replaced previous owner and chairman Graham Wood in 2015.

Richard Bennett said: "Following long and careful consideration, both Julie and I have decided to seek new owners for Gateshead Football Club.

"We are leaving the club debtfree and in a healthy position. "This presents a fantastic opportunity for potential new owners or a consortium who share the same aspirations of securing a return to the Football League.

"It is our intention to seek new owners as soon as possible to ensure the club are in a position to sustain and compete at the highest level possible for next season."

The Bennetts have been actively seeking new owners for some time and a southern-based investor had expressed interest in taking over the club.

Talks with the multi-millionaire were at an advanced stage and it is now unclear whether that takeover deal has stalled or is dead in the water.

The man, in his fifties, has a background in football and is believed to have held talks with the Bennetts and Gateshead Council. Gateshead's home, the International Stadium, is council-owned and the un-named southern investor had ambitious plans to take the club forward.

If he has pulled out then the Bennetts face a race against time to bring a new owner on board with the crucial summer period coming up.

Manager Steve Watson and assistant Micky Cummins are both on short-term deals which expire at the end of the season along with those of the players. Time is therefore of the essence for a club which has played at the top level of nonleague football for the last 10 years. Under Wood, Gateshead turned professional in 2010 - the first time they had been a full-time outfit since Football League status was lost in 1960. …

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