GATESHEAD’S players have issued a strongly-worded statement condemning the club’s foreign owners and urging them to complete a proposed sale to former Rochdale chairman Chris Dunphy as quickly as possible.

The current regime, headed by Dr Ranjan Varghese and Joseph Cala, have presided over a disastrous reign that has driven Gateshead to the verge of bankruptcy.

Players and staff have not received their wages for March, and the club was effectively evicted from its International Stadium home last Friday.

Debts are understood to have escalated to more than £200,000, and Gateshead have been forced to operate under a transfer embargo for the vast majority of the season after HMRC initiated two separate cases over unpaid debts.

The National League side, who currently sit in ninth position in the table, just five points short of the play-off zone, are confident they can fulfil their remaining six fixtures.

However, the squad have combined to issue a statement that highlights the extent of the problems they have been forced to deal with this season.

“As of writing this statement, all staff at the club are still awaiting our wages for the month of March,” said the playing and coaching staff. “This was due on Friday 29th and then later promised to be paid by Monday 1st April.

“Our manager (Ben Clark) has since been told by Cala that we will not be paid unless he calls the National League and successfully requests them to release funds from the bond. We believe that this is a highly inappropriate and unprofessional thing for the club’s ownership to say to our manager in our current situation.

“For the months of January, February and March 2019 in particular, we have encountered several problems receiving our wages. Players and staff have not been paid on time for three months running and some have been paid improperly. Several outstanding expenses are still owed as well.

“On Friday, the day before an important National League match at Braintree, our training was disrupted as we were called back to remove our belongings from the International Stadium and leave the premises due to outstanding debts owed to Gateshead Council.

“This serious financial mismanagement at the club has to stop. We are a squad of 16 senior players with one of if not the smallest wage bill in the National League yet debts and wages are still left unpaid.”

The club’s supporters’ association, Gateshead Soul, intends to stage a protest after Saturday’s home game with Ebbsfleet.

Both Varghese and Cala have said they are willing to relinquish control of the club, but Dunphy has so far been able to complete his proposed takeover.

“On Friday, there seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel for everyone as an agreement was reached in principle, to sell the club to former Rochdale chairman Chris Dunphy,” said the statement. “Having agreed to sell the club to Chris, we simply ask you to honour this promise and leave the club with at least some dignity by allowing Chris to take over alongside Bill Goodwin.

“These are men with a proven track record at running a football club and we wholeheartedly endorse their takeover bid.

“Should you fail to go through with your promise to allow Chris to be in a position to take over at the club, we will be left with no choice but to take immediate action. It is up to you to ensure that it does not come to that.”