As Boro prepare for our first friendly on home soil this pre-season tomorrow evening (kick-off 7.30pm), we take a look at some of the connections between Boro and opponents Gateshead.
Gateshead FC were reformed in the late 1970s after the collapse of Gateshead United. You’d have to head back as far as 1945 for our last competitive meeting with the National League North side in its previous incarnation - the teams met a handful of times in the wartime league and cups.
The Tyneside club are one of few to play a competitive match at the Riverside without ever playing against Boro - their final match of the 2012/13 season was relocated down the A19 as the Gateshead International Stadium was out of use with an unplayable pitch.
A couple of faces currently at the Boro have counted Gateshead among their former clubs.
Young duo Aynsley Pears and Luke Armstrong, who both travelled to Austria last week, spent time on loan there last season. Armstrong hit ten goals in 18 appearances, while Pears was named Player of the Year.
Other former Boro players also to play for Gateshead include Billy Askew, Micky Cummins and Jordan Hugill, while Gary Gill, Malcolm Crosby, Jim Platt and former Academy Manager Dave Parnaby all had spells in charge of Heed.
Our Under-23s played a pre-season friendly against Gateshead at this point last year, Pears and Armstrong joining former Boro youths Lewis Maloney and Robbie Tinkler in the Gateshead ranks. Stephen Walker scored our goal in a 1-1 draw at Rockliffe Park.
A Boro XI also faced Gateshead in pre-season almost exactly nine years ago. Teenager Cameron Park scored the clincher in a 3-2 victory for Boro at Rockliffe, with The Teessiders’ team also including the likes of Kris Boyd, Scott McDonald, Justin Hoyte, Barry Robson and Leroy Lita. James Marwood and Nathan Fisher, now working for Boro as an academy coach and in recruitment respectively, lined up for Gateshead that day.
Like Boro, Gateshead are managed by a newly-appointed former Newcastle United centre-back. Mike Williamson takes the reigns after becoming a player-coach with the club earlier this year.