'Extra motivation' for Gateshead FC to win FA Trophy final at Wembley amid ongoing stadium troubles

Gateshead FC's manager said the ongoing stadium troubles has given the team "extra motivation" to win the FA Trophy Final.

The team play against Solihull Moors at Wembley Stadium later this month, just weeks after a dispute over the lease on the Gateshead International Stadium, which is preventing the club from playing in the playoffs and dashed hopes of a promotion into the Football League.

Interim Manager Rob Elliot has opened up on refocusing ahead of the huge cup final trip to London.

After they had secured their place in the top seven of the National League, a statement released by the National League on Sunday April 21 confirmed that a leasing issue over the International Stadium had brought a halt to the Heed’s plans for the play-offs. EFL regulations require member clubs to have a ten-year security of tender in place on their home stadium.

Gateshead Council have offered assurances that the club would be granted the 10-year-lease if promoted, but uncertainty over the venue's future has been deemed too great by football authorities, with the council in the process of seeking a new operator to take over the stadium in an effort to cut costs.

The Heed Army reached the final of the same competition last year, but were narrowly beaten 1-0 on that occasion, and they are now looking to go one better this time around. Despite all of the talk off the pitch, former Newcastle United goalkeeper Elliot wants his side to put in a high-level performance on Saturday May 11.

He said: "The situation has not been ideal to say the least, but my focus is on us reacting as a group and on managing the players for such a big game, and trying to make the point that we would have been a force in the playoffs if we were able to play in them. A big occasion like this can cause nerves, but I just want to see the lads play the way they have this season and as well as I know they are capable of.

Rob Elliot, Interim Manager, at Gateshead FC's International Stadium.
Rob Elliot, Interim Manager, at Gateshead FC's International Stadium. -Credit:Chronicle Live

"This whole process has been a learning curve for me, as I look to continue the great work that has been done by previous coaches while putting my own stamp and identity on the way we play. I think that this situation can give us extra motivation to go out and leave a good impression on everyone, as it is a great day for the club and every single player deserves the opportunity.

"From a footballing standpoint there have been a lot of positives, and we need to take those positives to help us build into next season. As long as we are positive in the way that we play, I'll be happy, as it will be the last game with this group of players, such is the nature of football, and this is a great occasion for a very special group."

There has been an extra Lumo train service added on May 11 in order to allow fans to get home that night, departing from London King's Cross at 8.26pm and arriving back into Central Station just after 11pm. For more information on travel and to book your tickets for the match itself, visit the Wembley Stadium website here.