Gateshead International Stadium
Address: Neilson Road,
Tyne and Wear,
Capacity: 11,800 (All-Seater)
An International standard athletics stadium, which makes it not best suitable for association football.
Shortened to GIS, it has been home to Gateshead Football Club since the Heed were founded.
The stadium dates back to 1955, built on the site of two large 19th century chemical works and originally being known as the Gateshead Youth Stadium. It cost £30,000 to build at the time and contained little more than a running track and cycling track with a tiny grandstand and open terraces.
The stadium would undergo major renovation work in 1974 as part of the ‘Gateshead Games’. The games were instigated by a Gateshead Council employee named Brendan Foster, who ran in the 3,000m event during the meet and won in a then-world-record time of 7:35:20. The success of that games as well as future editions raised the profile of the Gateshead Community Stadium and it has grown into a top-class athletics venue, still being used for major athletics meets to this day.
The oldest tenants at the Gateshead International Stadium are Gateshead Harriers & AC, having been there since 1956.
Between 1998 and 2011, the stadium was used by the newly formed American Football team the Gateshead Senators following their relocation from Newcastle. They are nowadays based at Monkton Stadium in South Tyneside.
The Gateshead International Stadium has also been a notable rugby league venue. It was used by the newly formed Gateshead Thunder for a single season in 1999 before financial losses saw the team merge with Hull Sharks and form Hull Football Club further south. A new club was formed by supporters of the original Gateshead Thunder and played at the International Stadium until 2014, being rebranded as Newcastle Thunder the following year.
The first football team to be based at the Gateshead International Stadium were Gateshead Association Football Team, who left Redheugh Park to move here in 1973 but went bust within a year. In 1974, South Shields Football Club made the move to Gateshead and became known as Gateshead United Football Club. The International Stadium was their home until they folded in 1977. The Gateshead Football Club in place today were formed soon after and continue to call the Gateshead International Stadium their home.
Location and Getting There
The Gateshead International Stadium forms part of a complex that covers 60 acres of land and is located around two miles east of Gateshead Town Centre. Facilities available at the complex aside from the stadium include a Gym, Sports Hall, Steam Room, as well as both indoor and outdoor football pitches of varying sizes. The River Tyne is little more than 200m away to the north, with the Gateshead College Academy for Sport located directly south of the stadium.
Coming to the Gateshead International Stadium by car is certainly possible.
There are free car parks off Park Road (A184) that are within close distance of the stadium. These are free to use on a matchday and naturally fill up quickly when crowds are high. Free parking may well be possible to find in either the industrial estate to the west of the stadium or the residential estate to the south.
The Gateshead International Stadium is serviced by a Metro stop called Gateshead Stadium. The Yellow and Green Metro lines pass through here and it takes 10 minutes to get from Newcastle Station to the Gateshead Stadium stop via this method. From there, you can either walk north along St. James Road to the A184 and head east from there, or head along the footpath off St. James Road that passes through a nearby residential estate and ends on the other side of the A184 from the stadium.
The nearest bus stop to the Gateshead International Stadium is Neilson Road – Stadium. The stop is part of the East Gateshead Loop (Bus Number 93 and 94) which starts and ends at the Gateshead Interchange. The Gateshead Interchange in turn has a Metro stop on the Yellow and Green Lines.
Outside the Stadium
Visitors coming from the car parks or from the Gateshead Stadium Metro stop will first arrive at the stadium’s West Stand, known as the Tyne and Wear Stand.
It is the Main Stand at the Gateshead International Stadium, with an exterior that consists of red corrugated iron in its lower parts and cream corrugated iron in its upper parts. The stand in turn has a large corrugated iron building attached to it which holds many of the complex’s facilities. The attached building restricts how much of the Tyne and Wear Stand can be reached; you will need to work around this building for instance to get between the stand’s two sets of turnstiles (North Turnstiles and South Turnstiles).
To the right of the South Turnstiles is a modern-looking building made from brick, glass and panels. This two-storey structure holds a café inside, alongside major club facilities used by Gateshead Football Club.
Heading round in a clockwise direction from the Tyne and Wear Stand takes you up Neilson Road and soon brings you to the North Stand.
Largely perched atop a grass bank, its exterior consists mostly of a dull concrete perimeter wall with barbed wire across the top. A red perimeter fence runs alongside Neilson Road to prevent people getting to the North Stand when it isn’t in use (the North Stand is normally closed on matchdays unless Gateshead are expecting a very large attendance). You can see the exterior of the North Stand behind this red fence however, and halfway along is an opening which leads to the stand’s pair of brick turnstile blocks.
Directly north of the North Stand is a 3G multi-use pitch as well as a straight practice track. These like the North Stand are fenced off when not in use.
Getting to the East Stand at the Gateshead International Stadium requires you to head round past the South Turnstiles of the Tyne and Wear Stand. There is a raised footpath here which brings you all the way around the back of the stadium’s South Stand and over to the East Stand’s exterior, which has a perimeter wall running along it.
There are two sets of turnstile blocks on this side of the stadium which supporters use to get inside.
The South Stand, similar to the North Stand opposite, is based atop a grass bank.
It has a very basic exterior, consisting mostly of a dull concrete perimeter wall with barbed wire across the top. The stand is accessed via a footpath next to the stadium’s southwest corner, and there are four sets of turnstile blocks in place along the stand’s perimeter wall.
Like the North Stand opposite, the South Stand is normally closed on matchdays unless Gateshead are expecting a very large attendance.
Inside the Stadium
The Tyne and Wear Stand is a steep single tiered stand that consists of red seating, with darker coloured premium seating in one of its central blocks. You can find the stadium control box up at the back of the stand’s southern end. Major facilities including the dugouts, changing rooms and tunnel can all be found on this side of the Gateshead International Stadium.
Your view from most of the Tyne and Wear Stand is perfectly clear, but the back few rows of each block may have their view restricted slightly by supporting pillars which come down from the roof above. The presence of a running track and jump track at the Gateshead International Stadium in turn restricts how close you are to the game taking place on the pitch. Even in the very front rows, you can feel a good way away from what is going on.
There are windshields in place at either end of the stand, but these only provide protection to the rows further back.
The North Stand is an uncovered, curved stand that consists of eleven blocks of red seating. The eight larger seating blocks are split evenly down the middle by an opening which leads out to the stand’s turnstile blocks, and this space is sometimes also used for storage. There are in turn three blocks over by the stadium’s northeast corner which do not contain as many rows of seating as the other eight.
Your view from anywhere inside the North Stand is perfectly clear, but the absence of a roof leaves you with minimal protection. The presence of a running track, javelin track and shot put area at the Gateshead International Stadium restricts how close you are to the game taking place on the pitch. Even in the very front rows, you can feel a very long way away from what is going on.
The East Stand consists of large blocks of red seating with the letters GMBC spelt out in black at the back of the four central blocks.
The stand’s cantilever roof is in the process of being installed and currently provides minimal overhead protection. The absence of supporting pillars however means that the view from every seat inside is perfectly. The presence of a running track and pole vault track at the Gateshead International Stadium restricts how close you are to the game taking place on the pitch. Even in the very front rows, you can feel a very long way away from what is going on.
Windshields are not in place at either end of the East Stand.
The South Stand is an uncovered, curved stand that consists of several blocks of red seating.
Your view from anywhere inside the South Stand is perfectly clear, but the absence of a roof leaves you with minimal protection. The presence of a running track and high jump area at the Gateshead International Stadium restricts how close you are to the game taking place on the pitch. Even in the very front rows, you can feel a very long way away from what is going on.
Away fans are based in the East Stand along one of the long sides of the pitch. This is a single tier banked stand which has a cantilever roof that is currently in the process of being completed. Protection as a result is currently minimal from above.
The East Stand is able to accommodate up to 4,000 supporters on a matchday, making it suitable for both small and large away followings. Gateshead normally make use of large sheets to restrict how much of the East Stand is made available for away supporters to use.
Views are perfectly clear from anywhere inside the East Stand, though the presence of a running track and pole vault track greatly restricts how close you are to the game taking place on the pitch.
To access the East Stand turnstiles, you will need to head around the southern side of the Gateshead International Stadium. Head past the Tyne and Wear Stand to the west and you will find a raised footpath which takes you around the back of the stadium’s South Stand and over to the East Stand’s exterior. One or both of the turnstile blocks will be open, depending on the size of the away allocation.
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include*:
-Grey Nag's Head (227-229 High Street, NE8 1AS) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near the Gateshead Interchange)
-The Newcastle Tap (4 Neville Street, NE1 5EN) (Located very close to Newcastle Station)
-The Quayside (35-37 Close, NE1 3RN) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located on the north bank of the River Tyne near Newcastle Station)
-The Schooner (South Shore Road, NE8 3AF) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located very close to the River Tyne)
-The Stadium Bar at the Gateshead International Stadium (Home Supporters Only)
-Station East (Hills Street, NE8 2AS) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located north of the Gateshead Interchange)
-The William IV (268-288 High Street, NE8 1EL) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near the Gateshead Interchange)
*There are hardly around pubs around the Gateshead International Stadium. The recommendation is to instead either find a drink in more central Newcastle-upon-Tyne or near the Gateshead Interchange.
The Gateshead International Stadium was originally built to be an athletics venue, and it is well worth remembering that. Whilst association football has been played here for half a century, the stadium’s shape is designed to surround all the facilities needed for track and field events. Regardless of where you go at the GIS, you are not going to be able to claim to have a pitchside seat.
Putting aside the distances from the pitch though, the Gateshead International Stadium is a perfectly reasonable venue. You will likely only find its East and West Stands in use on a matchday, where views are clear for all but those up at the very back of the Main Stand. The full completion of the large East Stand’s roof will be greatly welcome as well for those who travel to Gateshead for a winter fixture.
One of the largest, most unique stadiums in Non-League football.