Usually, when your team finishes 9th in the table, just two spaces below the play-off places, the season is considered a relative success. Players can rest after a gruelling 46-game schedule is finally put to bed, holiday's are booked, relaxation time with friends and family is well earned for both players and staff.
For Gateshead FC, though, their story is a far cry from the sandy beaches and hotel bars most players will be experiencing this summer. That is, mainly, because the club no longer have any. The north east outfit, who are currently members of the National League, find themselves in dire straights following a fairly promising season on the pitch.
They have no players or staff left, with several of the Heed's squad from this season being sacked via email or text by the club's owner Ranjan Varghese this week. Left-back Scott Barrow is the only contracted player currently at Gateshead, with his deal expiring next month; when that comes to an end, not one person, both on and off the field, will remain at the Gateshead International Stadium.
Midfielder JJ O'Donnell played out the final stages of his contract employed by the club as kitman, after his playing agreement finished prior to the campaign ending. O'Donnell was then made aware of his release via email, alongside manager Ben Clark, his assistant Ian Watson, press officer Dominic Scurr, general manager Alisha Henry and club therapist Annie Davis.
Now, fed up with what is happening to their beloved side, the Gateshead Supporters' Group, Gateshead Soul, have announced plans to form a brand new breakaway club. With the backing of local MP Ian Mearns, Gateshead Soul chairman Bernard Williams said that the group have key stakeholders ready to come on board, with plans for a potential new management team already in place ahead of the forthcoming 2019-20 campaign.
Should the trust be successful and create this brand new club, it will be placed in step seven of the non-league pyramid - the Wearside League. However, special dispensation is often granted to breakaway clubs with a huge following and substantial financial backing, meaning there is a chance of them being placed in the Northern League Premier Division - step five of the pyramid.