Gateshead 1959/1960

Gateshead’s last season in the Football League, with Peterborough casting a shadow.

30 years or so after they took the league place of a bankrupt South Shields, Gateshead were voted out of the league and into oblivion.

They didn’t even finish bottom of the league and they beat the champions Walsall 3-0 in what turned out to be their their last home match! In those days the league was a membership club. You had to be elected [or bankrupted] in and out. The bottom four in the recently set up 4th division had to apply for reelection every year. Any clubs wanting in had to apply.

Peterborough had been dominating the Midland League for the past few years, upgrading their stadium and hosting high profile friendlies to show off their crowds and earning potential. Situated one hour out of London on a main line the choice between them and Gateshead in the depressed and frozen north was never going to be a difficult one. And crowds….. that was a major issue. Away teams used to split the net gate receipts. Crowds were so poor at Gateshead that teams rarely had anything to show for their trip after travel expenses were accounted for.

However all that could have been laid at the door of the other three as well. Hartlepools Oldham and Southport.  So why Gateshead? Maybe they didn’t lay on sufficient board room hospitality!  The 1st division clubs, including Newcastle, had 4 votes each, the 2nd two and the rest a single.

Final tally:

Oldham – 39

Peterborough – 35

Hartlepools – 34

Southport – 29

Gateshead – 18