The northeast of England is renowned for its rich history of proud football clubs. Newcastle United lead the pack currently as they sit in England’s topflight division with rejuvenated hope running through their veins amidst the new takeover. Middlesbrough are running high off their FA Cup victory against Manchester United, with the likes of Sunderland and Hartlepool United striving to progress through the leagues.
A journey down the football pyramid will take us to Gateshead FC. The club across the bridge from Newcastle are currently sitting in the National League North, where other north-eastern clubs are packed together, with the likes of Blyth Spartans, Spennymoor and Darlington all huddled together. Gateshead currently sit pretty at the top of the National League North tied on points with Brackley Town, as they bid to return to the final step of the non-league system.
Consistent mid-table finishes in the National League saw the Tynesiders lack that final push to get into the promotion spots. However, although finishing ninth in the 2018/19 season, they were relegated to the National League North due to financial irregularities: an all-too-common affair in English football at the moment. Hope is perhaps being restored for the club on the Tyne though, due to their promotion prospects for a return to the National League, aided by Macaulay Langstaff and Cedwyn Scott who both have 16 goals each and sit joint second in the top scorer's table. A leaky defence compared to the other promotion hopefuls is counteracted by their impressive goal tally of 57 goals in 26 games, with a win percentage of 69%.
Although talks of a new stadium were squashed along with England’s bid to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, Gateshead play at the fantastic International Stadium, hosting great facilities, landing them in good stead in their goal of rising up the leagues. An average attendance of just shy of 1000 people a game will be vital in helping their promotion aspirations, as the strong 12th voice of the Gateshead crowd cannot be underestimated.
A date for the diaries will most certainly be on April 2nd, as Gateshead take on Brackley Town in what could be a championship decider. The Meets will also have to play third-place Kidderminster Harriers, who recently impressed in their FA Cup run before tragically losing out to West Ham United in extra time. It’s safe to say that the conclusion of this season will be a fascinating one, with a few teams having the footing to take a hold of the league. As Spennymoor, Darlington and Blyth all sit in the bottom half of the table, it is Gateshead who will have to hold the beacon for non-league clubs in the northeast of England.