The Reckless Guide to...
Vanarama National League
Saturday 9th March 2019
Kick Off: 3.00 pm
Stadium: The International Stadium, Neilson Road, Gateshead, NE10 0EF
Telephone: 0191 478 3883
Club Colours: White and Black
Nickname: The Tynesiders or The Heed
The current manager is Ben Clark. A Defensive midfielder, Ben was a Youth at Manchester United before joining Sunderland and then had lengthy spells at Hartlepool and Gateshead before finishing his playing career with South Shields. He captained England at under 19 level.
Brief Directions by Road:
Easy peasy, from the A1(M) exit onto the A194(M) just North of Washington Services, which is a very long way. Follow this road until the junction with the A184. Turn left towards Newcastle/Gateshead where after approx three miles you will see the stadium to your right.
There are numerous pay and display car parks in and around the stadium – basically, take your pick. Street parking is unrestricted too.
Directions by Train:
The Stadium is accessible via the very efficient Tyne and Wear Metro from Newcastle Central. A mid-morning train from Kings Cross to Newcastle will take around 3 hours
Eating and Drinking Locally:
The bar at the ground is for home fans only – however with the number of visitors expected I doubt they would refuse entrance.
The Schooner is the pub that many I have spoken to mention as it overlooks the river and also welcomes away fans. It can be found on South Shore Road, Gateshead, NE8 3AF. But then there is honestly very little else unless you hit the town centre. For drivers arriving early, the Reckless Recommendation - if you would like to experience a real local North East boozer is: The Malting House Carlisle Street, Felling, Gateshead, NE10 0HQ.
An old haunt of Gazza and Chris Waddle I am informed by one of my spies. Great beers and top food too with a pool table and a nice garden. If arriving by train then it may be a better idea to drink in the centre of Newcastle and then get the Metro out to the Stadium.
An athletics stadium always gives me a European ground feel and watching the beautiful game from a distance isn't popular. However, the 12,000 capacity stadium has been the clubs' home since 1972. It was built in 1955 and has hosted not only Gateshead FC but also Gateshead Thunder RFC up until 2015. The main Tyne and Wear stand is often the only one of four areas normally open on matchdays and an area in the north-west corner is given up to visitors. We may be allocated the East Stand but that holds some 4,000! The T and W has room for over 3,000. The main stand rake is very steep and a famous story from 1983 involves long-time supporter Keith Morris (how are you doing fella?) who while overzealously celebrating, after Steve Mahoney had scored, tumbled down the steps head over heels at an alarming rate – I believe he was a teetotaler too!
Our Last Meeting & Memories:
Our last visit was in October 2014 during our Conference Championship winning season – goals from Luisma Villa and Curtis Weston won it 2-0 in front of nearly 1,800 spectators.
In fact, our record at Gateshead is impeccable, six wins from six visits. The best ever win was 5-1 cruise in September 1986. I mention the 1983 visit above because it became legendary for two reasons – the aforementioned Mr Morris and the following story from the wonderful John Margerrison:
“The squad stayed in Newcastle overnight and when we got to the hotel Barry Fry jovially said something like ‘you can go out and have a drink but make sure you are all in bed by 3am!’
"So we went out and had a serious jolly till about 3am. At half time we were losing 2-0 and all playing like you know what. Barry blew a gasket and went crazy shouting at everybody calling us all the names and nearly coming to blows, tea tray going everywhere.
"We went out second half and scored 3 to win the game with me scoring the first then Steve Mahoney and Stewart Atkins. Team talks were always fun and he used to say ‘right Brownie you do this, God you do this, Steiny do this’ then he would look at me and say ‘you just do what you want Marge’”
Barnet supporters first view of the “Glen Hoddle of Non-League” - Kenny Lowe was when he played for Gateshead in 1985. When I met Glen some years ago I, a bit worse for wear, by the way, insisted he was actually the “Kenny Lowe of the Football League” he smiled and said he knew what I meant as his brother Carl had told him all about Kenny! Other Bees connections are John Oster, Neal Bishop, Peter Guthrie and the great Liam Hatch.
Gold medal Paralympian Josef Craig is probably their current most famous fan but it seems football and very little else in the way of other sports are represented by persons from Gateshead: Lawrie McMenemy (whose brother was my postman by the way when living in North Finchley), Andy Carroll, Paul Gascoigne, Norman Hunter and Chris Waddle amongst others. Brian Johnson, frontman of ACDC, was once offered the job of tannoy announcer at the Stadium – allegedly!
Thanks to Messrs McInness and Goodwin from Gateshead for their help with this guide.