Gateshead Football Club is a professional association football club based in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England. The club participates in the National League, the fifth tier of English football. Their most recent notable events include a visit to Wembley, in the play-off final in 2013/14, and reaching the FA Cup 3rd round in 2014/2015. The club is very popular among Newcastle United fans and Sunderland fans alike, but also have their own specific fan base famously calling themselves the 'Heed Army'.
Although the club was formed in 1977, it can trace its roots back to 1889. Then, South Shields Adeleide, located eight miles (14 km) from Gateshead, were formed. They originally played in the Northern Alliance before joining the North Eastern Leagues and changing name to just South Shields. They joined the extended Football League Second Division in 1919–20. The mid-to-late 1920s saw the club struggling financially before in 1928 the club finished bottom and were relegated to the Third Division (North). After two unsuccessful seasons in the lower division, the struggling club took the step of not just leaving the Horsley Hill ground but of moving the club to another town in search of more support. Newcastle upon Tyne, was mentioned as a possible destination, but Gateshead was eventually chosen, mainly due to the enthusiastic support of the Gateshead Council.
The 'new' club, Gateshead A.F.C., stayed in the Football League until 1960 when they failed to win re-election after finishing in the bottom three of Division Four. They played in various regional leagues before becoming founder members of the Northern Premier League in 1968, staying for just two seasons before finishing bottom and again failing to win re-election. They joined the Midland League in 1971 but in August 1973 the club ran into financial problems and were liquidated.
In 1974, history repeated itself. A second South Shields FC, formed in 1936, after the previous incarnation had made the afore-mentioned move, also made the move to Gateshead, becoming Gateshead United. United however were not around for too long, being wound up in 1977.
In 1977, a new club was formed – Gateshead F.C.. The club were immediately accepted into the Northern Premier League. By this time, their home ground, the Gateshead Youth Stadium, had been upgraded and renamed as Gateshead International Stadium with facilities good enough for a higher grade of football.
After six years Gateshead won promotion from the Northern Premier League to the Alliance Premier League in 1983, with a record tally of points and goals scored. With a relatively lucrative sponsorship, Gateshead spent several seasons in the Football Conference. However, the sponsorship money dried up, and the club started to decline, spending the 2003–04 season in the Northern Premier League First Division. A 6th-place finish was enough to gain promotion to the Premier Division due to the restructuring of the National League System.
A new board was appointed under the Chairmanship of Graham Wood, which saw Gateshead regain its momentum with the appointment of Ian Bogie as manager. On 3 May 2008, Gateshead beat Buxton 2–0 in the Northern Premier League Premier Division Play-Off Final and were, therefore, promoted to the recently formed Conference North.
Gateshead F.C. absorbed local club Low Fell Juniors to form Gateshead Juniors from the start of the 2008/09 season, expanding the number of teams under the club banner.
Gateshead finished the 2008–09 season in the Conference North in second (2nd) place. They qualified for the play-offs along with Alfreton Town, Telford United and their semi-final opponents Southport. Gateshead beat Southport 2–1 on aggregate and won the Play-Off Final 1–0 against Telford, earning promotion back to the Conference Premier where they remain.
Gateshead announced on 13 October 2009 that they would be moving to a full-time employed playing squad for the beginning of the 2010–2011 season.
On 10 December 2012, manager Ian Bogie and assistant Terry Mitchell were relieved of their duties at the club. Reserve team manager Anth Smith named caretaker manager. Three days later, Smith was named permanent manager and given a contract until the end of the 2012–13 season. On 18 August 2013, David Rush, Smith's assistant, was named as caretaker manager after his resignation, before former York City manager Gary Mills was appointed on 3 September 2013. Mills took Gateshead to third place in the Conference at the end of his first season as manager, qualifying the team for the end-of-season promotion play-offs. An aggregate win over Grimsby Town took Gateshead to their first appearance at Wembley Stadium. However, on 18 May 2014, they lost 2–1 to Cambridge United, who were promoted back into the Football League after a nine-season absence. Gateshead are currently focusing on getting into the Football League.