Gateshead coach looking forward to return of fans ahead of Hartlepool friendly

Gateshead assistant manager Ian Watson is preparing for the “emotional” return of supporters to the International Stadium.

By Mark Carruthers
Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 6:43 pm
Gateshead host Hartlepool United on Saturday.
Gateshead host Hartlepool United on Saturday.

The Heed Army were expected to attend pre-season fixtures against the likes of Hull City and Blackburn Rovers over the last week.

But issues within the ranks of the visiting clubs led to the postponement of both fixtures and Tuesday night’s hastily arranged meeting with Northern League side Ashington was forced to be played behind closed doors.

Despite the relaxation of Covid restrictions, the International Stadium falls under Gateshead Council’s remit and the club are still having to adhere to the directions put in place by them.

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However, Saturday’s home friendly against League Two side Hartlepool United will see supporters attending for the first time since a 2-1 defeat against King’s Lynn Town in March 2020.

Watson is hoping to repay the Heed faithful for their patience and for the support they have given throughout a period of change at the International Stadium.

“We have been through a lot with the supporters, and we are driven to keep improving because of what they did for us as a club,” explained Watson.

“There is a motivation within the coaches and the players to repay them for what they did during a difficult time and that never leaves us with everything we do on and off the pitch.

“I don’t mind saying, seeing them back in the ground will be an emotional moment for all of us.

“I remember when me and Ben Clark took charge for the first time against Salford, and I got emotional then because of the support we received from the away support.

“There is no doubt there is a bond and a connection between the staff and the supporters and we really can’t wait to see them back at the stadium.”

Gateshead have been given permission to open their ticket office from 2pm until 7pm on Friday and supporters can buy tickets for Saturday’s game and next weekend’s friendly against Newcastle United Under-23s.

The club have confirmed supporters must buy tickets in advance either at the ticket office or via the online ticket portal on their official website to comply with council guidelines.