On Saturday, Newcastle make the long trip to Brighton for a 5:30pm kick off, in a game that will hopefully mark the start of a new manager’s reign. As a result, many of us mags will be looking for our 3pm football fix. To that query, I would suggest that as many of you as possible get down to the International Stadium to watch Gateshead take on Altrincham of the National League in the FA Cup First Round Proper.

It promises to be an entertaining afternoon, with plenty at stake. A place in the Second Round would see the winner just one game away from a potential Premier League tie. For a non-league club, that is a massive incentive both in terms of coverage and finances. Considering that Altrincham are one division above Gateshead, the Tynesiders need as much support as possible.

Are you persuaded yet? If you are, fantastic, but if not, let me delve a little deeper into Gateshead and reveal why they will be perfect to fill that Newcastle United-shaped Saturday afternoon void.

Firstly, Gateshead have plenty of Newcastle United connections without even including the geographical link! Their player/manager is none other that former Toon centre-back, Mike Williamson. Iron Mike, as he’s affectionately known, wears the same number 6 he wore at Newcastle, and alongside his assistant, Ian Watson, has got the Heed playing some great football.

In their nine league games of this campaign, Gateshead have won five and drawn two, and only losing on two occasions. On top of that, they are yet to taste anything but a win on home soil. This fantastic form is spearheaded by strikers Cedwyn Scott and Macaulay Langstaff – a dynamic duo who between them have scored 18 goals already in all competitions.

They are supported in attack by two more players who spent time with Newcastle. Adam Campbell, who many of you will recall, made several first team appearances for the Magpies, has put in a handful of top performances already this season. Tucked in just behind is former academy player Dan Ward, who has already made a habit of scoring in the FA Cup this year.

Pulling the strings in the middle of the field is Owen Bailey, the former captain of the Newcastle under-23 side, another who made a first team appearance. With Newcastle links all over, surely this is perfect for any mag wanting to sample non-league football?

Not convinced? Let me move onto the atmosphere at the International Stadium. In a word: noisy. Gateshead supporters are some of the best that non-league has to offer. If you want the full experience, make sure to stand near the clothesline, in the upper part of the Tyne & Wear Stand. Given the nature of the occasion on Saturday, I’m sure it will be bouncing, and your support could help Gateshead get over the line.

Furthermore, don’t be put off by the running track at the International Stadium. Unlike at West Ham, you can actually see the pitch and no matter where you are in the Tyne & Wear Stand, you’ll have a superb view.

I’d like to finally add that Gateshead is a friendly and welcoming club and will massively appreciate all support from Newcastle and Sunderland supporters. Rivalries are aside at the International Stadium – we’re all Gateshead, we’re all the super Heed Army.

Hopefully, I’ve done enough to convince you now. The bigger the crowd, the better chance Gateshead have of getting through and potentially going on to make history. Whilst Newcastle will make history in years to come under our new ownership, why not be part of history at Gateshead?

Daniel Wales – @danielwales023 

Important details

Gateshead vs. Altrincham

FA Cup First Round Proper

Kick-off: 3pm

Location: Gateshead International Stadium, Neilson Road, Gateshead, NE10 0EF

Tickets: Adults – £15, Concessions – £10, Under-16 – £5


(Tickets can also be bought on the day on the gate)