Ranjan Varghese: Gateshead bought by Hong Kong-based businessman

Gateshead International Stadium
Gateshead secured ninth, eighth and 17th-place league finishes in the past three seasons

National League club Gateshead have been taken over by Hong Kong-based businessman Dr Ranjan Varghese.

Varghese, who is a director of Steel Ships Limited, has purchased the club from previous owners Richard and Julie Bennett and will be the new chairman.

Michael Williams, an associate of Varghese, will join the Heed's board as operations director.

Gateshead had been up for sale since the end of last season, in which they finished 17th in England's fifth tier.

A deal was agreed to sell the club to an overseas consortium in May, but the buyers withdrew, prompting a decision to temporarily revert the team to a part-time setup.

At that stage, the club said budget cuts were "essential" to guarantee its future.

Richard Bennett, who co-owned the club for three years, said: "Both Julie and myself are delighted to have completed a deal ahead of the forthcoming season.

"Gaining both National League and Football Association approval ahead of the acquisition has meant Dr Varghese can now press on with his team and implement their business plan.

"We would like to thank everyone associated with the club, staff, volunteers and of course the supporters for all of their help and support over the last three years."

Gateshead begin their 2018-19 campaign away to Maidenhead United on Saturday, 4 August.