Exclusive: Chris Dunphy reveals latest on Gateshead takeover bid as he holds talks with National League and council chiefs

Former Rochdale chairman Chris Dunphy has told the Sunderland Echo that he IS still interested in completing a deal to buy National League crisis club Gateshead.
Chris Dunphy IS still interested in buying GatesheadChris Dunphy IS still interested in buying Gateshead
Chris Dunphy IS still interested in buying Gateshead

It is just over three weeks since Dunphy agreed a deal in principle with the club’s owner Dr Ranjan Varghese and controversial financial advisor Joseph Cala.

There has been a delay in the sale process as Dunphy awaits a witnessed signature from Varghese on an exclusivity agreement.

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The hold-up frustrated the former Dale chairman and led to him announcing that he was withdrawing from the deal two weeks ago.

However, he has now confirmed that he has contacted the club to inform them that “the offer remains on the table” and revealed that he is willing to wait to complete a deal.

He said “I sent an e-mail to Joe Cala on Friday night confirming that I remain interested in buying the club and telling him that the initial offer remains on the table.

“It is in the hands of Joe now and I know he has a succession of other people that he is trying to get interested in buying the club.

“We will wait if that is what we need to do.

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“We want to do everything the right way, we want to make sure that the deal is completed in the right way and we want to conduct ourselves in the manner that we have always done during our time in football.

“Whoever gets involved will have to go through the fit and proper person test and we will see if Joe is involved with people that can pass that process.

“We just want to make sure that if or when we complete a deal, nothing comes out of the woodwork to bite us.

“There is so much positivity around the club, and we want to be in a position to build on that in the right way.”

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It has been a surprisingly quiet week off-the-field for Gateshead.

There has been little talk of any potential takeover and the club’s unexpected battle to reach the National League play-offs has been the focus of the attention.

But Dunphy revealed that he has been working hard in the background and has held a number of meetings with key figures at the local council and the National League.

“I held talks with the league, and they were extremely positive,” explained Dunphy – who is expected to be at the International Stadium for the Heed’s game against Chesterfield on Good Friday.

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“They needed to discuss my intentions with the club and to go into the fit and proper person test.

“They already know me from my time at Rochdale, but these things have to be done in the current manner and have to be done officially.

“They have a duty of care when it comes to their members clubs and the league and they now know of my intentions for Gateshead and they are aware the budgets we are proposing.

“I also met with key figures at the local authorities and I was delighted with their enthusiasm and co-operation.

“I spent 20 years fighting tooth and nail with the authorities at Rochdale, so it was a refreshing change to meet with a local authority that are so supportive of their local club.”