By Mark Carruthers
A consortium fronted by two Gateshead supporters have moved closer to completing a takeover of the National League crisis club.
Former Heed directors Neil Pinkerton and Trevor Clark have joined forces to agree a deal with current owner Dr Ranjan Varghese and legal paperwork has now been completed and exchanged between the legal teams.
The deal will bring some clarity to a turbulent period in the club’s history.
Since taking control of Gateshead 12 months ago, Varghese and controversial financial advisor Joseph Cala have overseen a number of disastrous decisions that took the club to the brink of extinction.
The Heed were under a transfer embargo for the vast majority of last season and were kicked out of their International Stadium home in March as the local council took action over a number of unpaid bills.
Matters took a turn for the worse last week when the National League confirmed a number of sanctions against the club after conducting an investigation into their financial affairs.
Gateshead as they were fined £3,500 and were suspended from the National League after an investigation found that the club have multiple breaches of the league’s financial regulations.
The most severe punishment handed out by the league has seen the club suspended from the competition and they have been refused a licence to compete in non-league football’s top tier next season.
That decision led to Pinkerton and Clark combining their resources to persuade Varghese to sell the club and their efforts have now come to fruition.
The Heed owner has now returned a signed contract and the official share transfer form to the consortium’s legal team and ratification from the Football Association and National League are now being sought.
In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, they said “A consortium, headed by Neil Pinkerton and Trevor Clark, have undertaken and completed the necessary legal paperwork to purchase the club from Dr Ranjan Varghese, subject to ratification from the relevant authorities.
“We wish to place on record, our sincerest gratitude towards PG Legal and those that have helped to enable this complex and arduous purchase.
“Rest assured that all deadlines to the National League and the FA will be met, to ensure compliance and, to hopefully overturn the sanctions which were rightly imposed on the club. It is imperative that we safeguard our ten-year affinity at the top of the non-league pyramid for at least the 2019/20 season.
“We appreciate there will be many questions and not necessarily an abundance of answers in the coming days.
“However, rest assured that fellow fans have every right to be as excited as we are, as we head into a new era, with not only a club we can call our own, but one that has the stability and integrity it has been missing.
“There are relationships and bridges to be built, but with the correct people at the helm, we will do it. Transparency and honesty are key to what is, foremost, a community asset.
“We look forward to drawing a line under the past and hope to have some exciting announcements in the coming days.”