Gateshead International Stadium is a brilliant sporting arena. It’s just a massive shame that sport isn’t football.
Gateshead FC’s temporary home is the North East’s premier athletics venue, but the problem is that it’s become more than temporary. The club have long talked about moving from the soulless stadium and into a home of their own. But they’ve been playing here since 1974.
It’s almost a cliche to bemoan a running track ruining the atmosphere at a football ground and whilst it’s also true, the main issue for Gateshead is that they only ever open one stand.
That means the bizarre sight of all fans looking out onto an empty stadium, at a football match taking place in the distance due to the athletics facilities between.
The stadium itself is a wonderful building. A slightly garish but not entirely dated 1970s piece of architecture forms the main stand, with a mix of covered and uncovered seating making up the rest of the venue, a futuristic cover that hasn’t long been there against the opposite touchline.
It’s such a shame really. The seating is comfortable, the sight lines are great but I’m clutching at straws here. The stadium isn’t set up for football in any way whatsoever, and for a club currently knocking on the door of the Football League, their home is a bit of an embarrassment.
Poor (almost non-existent) drinking facilities, overpriced awful food and most importantly of all, that bloody running track. As a stadium it’s spectacular and a great place to visit. As somewhere to watch a football game it features low down the list.