Mike Williamson reveals why his relationship with Newcastle United could be all-important at Gateshead
Mike Williamson will ask his former Newcastle United team-mate Shola Ameobi for a helping hand – as he looks to rebuild Gateshead.
The club, relegated to National League North last season for breaking financial rules, is under new ownership.
And Williamson, appointed player-manager earlier this month, is looking to stabilise the club after a turbulent 12 months at the International Stadium.
The 35-year-old – who was a player at Gateshead last season – knows the importance of the loan market to the club.
Amoebi was appointed as the club’s loan co-ordinator this month tasked with getting Under-23 players the right loans at the right time.
Williamson – who spent six years at St James’s Park – hopes to forge close relationships with Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.
“Obviously, I’ve got a lot of friends there (at United),” said Williamson. “Shola’s gone in, he’s head of loans. So I’ve got good relationships there, and we want to build on that. It’s the same with Sunderland and Middlesbrough.
“We want to rebuild the relationships that were tarnished a little last season, because we do believe we can provide a fantastic platform for young players to come and learn their trade on.
“Historically, a lot of players have come here and had fantastic careers. That’s what we’re looking to do.”
Williamson, while at Southampton, benefited from loans at Torquay United, Doncaster Rovers and Wycombe Wanderers early in his playing career.
“When I was a young lad, the senior pros’ main advice was ‘get out and play mens’ football’,” said Williamson. You’ll find your level, eventually.
“As good as academies and reserve-team football is for elements of your development, coming into real life where people are pushing to pay mortgages, and to win every game and be competitive, is also important.”
Williamson “loved” his time on Tyneside with Newcastle – and was happy to return to the North East and join Gateshead.
“The time I was here, I loved,” he said.
“The people and the place – it’s got everything. A lot of people who come up here feel the same.”