Mike Williamson reveals why he couldn't turn down the Gateshead job – and opens up on his love for Tyneside
Mike Williamson says he couldn’t turn down the opportunity to manage Gateshead.
The former Newcastle United defender has been appointed as player-manager.
Williamson – who spent six years at St James’s Park – returned to Tyneside to play for Gateshead last season.
The club, taken over by Neil Pinkerton and Trevor Clark this summer, has been relegated to the National League North for financial breaches under the previous ownership.
Williamson said: “I’ve had various offers, but I wanted to see what happened with Gateshead – I wanted to know what the future held. Luckily, it was taken over by people who care for the club and have a vision – I want to be part of it.”
Williamson and his family made the decision to “put down roots” in the North East last summer.
“We made a decision based on family circumstances to move back up here and put our roots down,” said Williamson. “The time I was here, I loved. The people and the place – it’s got everything. A lot of people who come up here feel the same. But football is what it is, it takes you up and down the country.
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“I thoroughly enjoyed last season. It was a contrast in terms of over-achieving on the pitch and then the off-field events. Now the takeover has happened, it’s been a fantastic turnaround. It just shows what a community club this is.”
Williamson must now rebuild the squad and backroom team.
“It’s a rebuilding process in terms of the team, squad and backroom staff – and the relationships with other clubs around the area,” said the 35-year-old.
Williamson has no intention of hanging up his boots.
“I feel as fit as I ever have been, and have a lot to offer – I still want to play as many games as I can,” he said.
Williamson hopes to guide the club back into the National League.
“The aim is to create a competitive squad,” said Williamson. “We’ve got a lot of young, hungry people – that’s the blueprint. In terms of where we stand moving forward, that’s something I’ll assess. The objective, ultimately, is to get back up.”