After Gateshead were relegated from the Football Conference in 1998, it was more than 10 years before we’d meet again. And our two matches during the 2009-10 Blue Square Premier campaign were notable for different reasons. First, there was a 5-3 win indoors in which Charlie Griffin nabbed a hattrick. Second, we claimed a 1-0 victory at their gaff; the first game we played after securing the title.
Since then, the Heed were a mere 90 minutes from promotion to the League themselves in 2014. Cambridge, however, ruined things with a 2-1 win in the Conference playoff final. We know who we’d rather have come up. It wasn’t to be. And, despite regular finishing in the top half of the table, the Heed were relegated again at the end of the 2018-9 season; sent down to National League North from ninth due to cash issues.
Gateshead: The Facts
Gateshead International Stadium
Neilson Road, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, NE10 OEF
The Heed are one of those rare clubs because, technically, they are younger than us. The current incarnation of the North East side came into being in 1977, even football in that particular part of the world dates back to 1889. Again, that’s not a million miles off our own story here in Stevenage – give or take five or so years. But the biggest difference between us and them looking back over our shoulder is that Gateshead had a Football League team long before our humble town. Oh yes, right up until 1960, when they were voted out.
Of course, this Gateshead ain’t that League team of yore. That were the old South Shields, who changed name after – clearly – upping sticks for the place they’re named after. The current Heed went straight into the Northern Premier League after forming in 1977; within three years, they were in what’s now the Blue Vauxhall Vanarama Conference. Our first encounter with them came in 1994, after Boro’ made it to the top tier of non-league football after a slightly longer journey. It wasn’t a great first encounter, however. The Heed won that first tete-a-tete.
Gateshead Travel Information – Distance: 245 miles
This is one of the longest trips you’ll undertake (probably) and those who drive must be up for becoming well-acquainted with the A1. It’s almost all you’re going to see; it’s A1/A1(M) all the way until the A194 junction just north of Washington Services.
From here, follow the A194 to its junction with the A184 and turn left. After around 3 miles, the Gateshead International Stadium should come into view.
Last time we looked, the Heed provided three car parks at the stadium – and all were free to use.
Station: GATESHEAD STADIUM
Services to: NEWCASTLE (for STEVENAGE, LONDON KINGS CROSS)
The Stadium Metro station isn’t too far from the stadium. From the station, go right along St James’ Road and pass some trees to your right for about 20 metres. Immediately on your right is a path and cycleway that runs straight up through a housing estate identified by random circles spaced evenly along the way.
If you continue along here, you’ll reach Park Road. The ground is directly opposite.
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