EXTRAORDINARY – that's Conference boss’ opinion of Gateshead game delays
CONFERENCE general manager Dennis Strudwick admits he’s never known a fixture prove so difficult to get on in 36 years of football administration as Gateshead v Newport, but has promised to find “an extraordinary solution to an extraordinary problem”.
The Exiles’ scheduled trip to the north east was postponed again yesterday for the third time, with Gates-head – whose ground is unlikely to be able to host another game this season – unable to use Hartlepool’s ground, as planned.
Gateshead are now proposing to play the fixture at York City on Thursday, March 21, but the Argus understands that option will be flatly rejected by Newport.
County are now likely at some stage to have to play four games in seven days.
We can also reveal:
- Gateshead did not contact Newport about the possibility of playing at York before revealing their intention to do so on their website;
- County thought a pitch inspection was taking place at Victoria Park on Sunday afternoon but now believe that was a smokescreen;
- The Exiles hierarchy met yesterday to discuss the situation and the result of that meeting was a letter to the Conference;
- County have proposed two potential solutions to the problem and are hoping for Conference assistance in switching other games;
- The Exiles are adamant that they don’t feel it would be fair to play next Thursday, March 21, as proposed by Gateshead;
- County may seek remuneration to cover lost monies for cancelled accommodation and aborted travel.
The Argus has seen the letter sent to the Conference but has been asked not to disclose the details of their proposed change of dates.
However, speaking to the Argus, Conference general manager Dennis Strudwick insisted the governing body will do all they can to help broker a solution, though he did admit there is a strong possibility of both sides playing four games in seven days.
“In light of last night’s postponement we will again be endeavouring to assist the two clubs with getting the fixture on,” he said.
“We are trying to remain positive, it’s a far from ideal situation and the reality is we are unlikely to find an ideal solution. The problems Gateshead have had with their ground are unlike any I have known in 36 years of football administration. It’s an extraordinary situation and so we need to find an extraordinary solution.”
Strudwick confirmed a dialogue continues with both clubs.
“We will, of course, continue to liase with both clubs on the matter,” he said.
“We can’t control the weather and it is quite possible it’ll end up being a case of both clubs playing on a Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.”
Gateshead issued a statement yesterday explaining how the process had unfolded and expressing their interest in re-arranging for next week.
“Gateshead will now seek to resurrect York City’s kind offer to accommodate the fixture against Newport County on 21st March,” it said.
“That would see Gateshead play four games in eight days, including the Hereford United game at Victoria Park on the Tuesday evening.
“Hartlepool had already made a great gesture by agreeing to accommodate seven of our last 12 home fixtures,” said Gateshead chairman Graham Wood.
“However, that eighth game proved to be a bridge too far and an attempt by Hartlepool, Telford and Gateshead to help Newport fell victim to the weather.”