Ex-Hartlepool United defender Ben Clark demands clarity as 'annoying' Gateshead saga continues

Gateshead manager Ben Clark have revealed his annoyance at the lack of clarity over the club’s future.

Thursday, 25th April 2019, 4:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th April 2019, 4:09 pm
Gateshead boss Ben Clark has discussed the club's current situation

Takeover talks between current owner Dr Ranjan Varghese and former Rochdale chairman Chris Dunphy have come to a halt, leaving the latter still awaiting progress on his bid to buy the National League club.

That has left Clark in a state of limbo as he looks to prepare for a return to pre-season training in July.

A number of Gateshead players are already attracting interest after performing above expectations throughout the current campaign.

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England C players Robbie Tinkler and Jon Mellish have all been linked with moves away from the International Stadium, with the latter strongly linked with a move to North East neighbours Hartlepool United.

Clark is keen to move the club on, but has been left frustrated that the planning process is unable to get underway with the club’s future still up in the air.

“It’s really annoying,” said the former Hartlepool United defender.

“As a player I prided myself on being a professional, and I wanted to carry that on as a manager.

“But it’s all up in the air at the moment.

“If we knew what the situation was we could have our current players nailed down for next season by now.

“They have had great seasons, and we know that they will have interest from other clubs.

“We have two squads prepared for next season.

“Busted (Ian Watson) and myself have players that we have identified as potential signings, but we can’t do anything with the club’s future up in the air.

“We can’t plan pre-season friendlies or what date we will be coming back for pre-season training.

“It’s basic stuff and we can’t do it.

“We just have to be patient and hope that something gets sorted soon.”

It is just over four months since Clark was named as successor to former Gateshead manager Steve Watson.

During that time, the Heed legend has helped the club continue their unlikely push for a National League play-off place.

That bid came to an end after Monday’s 2-0 defeat at Harrogate Town, but the season will still be seen as a success for a Gateshead squad that were heavily tipped to be relegated this season.

Clark revealed that he is keen to remain in place and take the club forward into next season, but admitted that it is difficult to see what the future holds for him and the club.

He said “I would love to work with Busted, Mike (Williamson) and this squad again next season.

“Nothing is happening at the moment, so it’s tough to talk about it, but ideally I want to be here.

“I want to stay, I love this club and people know that, but it is difficult.

“We want to move the club forwards and build on what we have done so far.

“I have enjoyed it, despite everything going on away from the pitch.

“It’s been a learning-curve and I have learnt a lot about myself and about football in general.

“As a player, you are ignorant to everything that goes on and you come in, train, play, get paid and then go home.

“As a manager, you see some things that surprise you.

“But I have loved it and I have had some great people around me like Busted, Mike, the players, Dominic (Scurr, press officer), Alisha Henry (General Manager), Annie, Simon.

“They’re good people and hopefully we can build on this.”

Gateshead round off their season with a home game against Barrow on Saturday.

A Heed win could see the club end a difficult campaign in eighth place in the National League table, just one place outside of the play-off positions.