Paul Gascoigne has given £10,000 to Gateshead to save the UniBond Premier League club from going bust over Christmas and has urged his fellow Geordie Alan Shearer to follow suit.
The donation came after the club found itself facing sudden closure because its major sponsor for the last 10 years – Cameron Hall Developments, owned by the Newcastle United vice-chairman, Douglas Hall – has pulled the plug on the arrangement at short notice due to financial problems.
Gateshead need £60,000 to survive for the rest of the season. Gascoigne's contribution will at least keep them solvent into the New Year. "It would be a great shame to see Gateshead go," said Gazza, who was brought up in nearby Dunston. "I used to play there as a lad in cup finals and used to use the running track for training. I think I could pull out £10,000 and then maybe Shearer could give £10,000."
Speaking about the collapsed sponsorship deal, he added: "Mr Hall has always been good to me. It's a shame they can't come to some agreement. The money they are making from Newcastle United and the new stadium must be a fortune."
Gateshead's chairman, John Gibson, hopes that the money from Gascoigne will not only mean a stay of execution for his club but encourage new finance from local businesses. There is also a chance Newcastle could play a friendly at Gateshead if the scheduling can be worked out.
"The deal with Cameron Hall was renewed on a handshake this summer but now, three months into the season, we've been told that the latest instalment is the last," Gibson said. "We don't own our own ground because we play at the International Stadium, which we rent from the council. So we can't make money from the social club or exploiting the facilities. We run to a budget, owe no money and have no overdraft facility at our own request. But we rely on the sponsorship.
"What Gazza has done is quite staggering. Without being asked, he volunteered £10,000. It's not as if it's a company that can write it off against tax. He's sticking his hand in his pocket. I would have been thrilled to received a single autographed shirt to raffle. It shows that his body might have travelled the world but his heart is still here."Reuse content