'I don't consider myself a quitter': Steve Watson agrees new Gateshead deal and reveals recruitment plans

Steve Watson will remain at Gateshead
Steve Watson will remain at Gateshead

Steve Watson has agreed a deal to remain at Gateshead - and the former Newcastle United man already has one eye on recruitment.

Co-owners Richard and Julie Bennett announced that the club would be forced to return to a part-time model with budgets slashed after a proposed takeover of the Heed collapsed earlier this week.

That led to speculation that Watson would seek a new challenge, but the 44-year-old has now penned a new one-year deal at the International Stadium to put any doubts over his future to bed.

And despite the testing times of late, Watson revealed that he didn't want to turn his back on the club that handed him his first managerial role.

"Firstly, I don't consider myself a quitter," he said.

"I've come up here and committed myself to the club and after thinking about it with my friends and family, I want to stay.

"I've had offers to do different things this summer but I want to be a manager. Richard gave me my first chance and it's not an ideal scenario but it's hopefully one that we can make workable and it'll be a different type of squad that we're looking at."

As the Heed boss alluded too, it's looking likely that a very different squad will line-up in white and black come the opening day of the new National League season.

First team players such as James Montgomery, Danny Johnson and Russ Penn have all moved elsewhere, leaving a threadbare squad behind.

There are currently no first team players contracted for next season and, with many others having already moved on too, Watson has a big rebuilding job on his hands.

That could be daunting for some, but for the Heed boss the recruitment process has already begun as he looks to assemble a squad primarily composed of North East based players - something he feels the fans will appreciate.

"We'll try and put together a squad, most of the lads have gone unfortunately because some of them coudn't wait," Watson added.

"Some of the lads have gone most recently because of the cut in budget and the potential of part-time, but that's not what I want. I want the lads training as much as they were previously so that is something we've been able to come to an agreement on.

"Hopefully we can keep the two or three (first team players) that are left and build a squad around them. There are still some very good players that have been hanging on and waiting and hopefully, we can talk them into signing and going on this journey that we're going to be on as well.

"Because of the budget, there won't be too many lads that will be able to come from different parts of the country so I've said before that I've got great faith in the North East of England's football and it may well be a squad that will be mainly North East based and a lot of youth, hopefully we can keep the experience around them and that will help.

"It will be the type of squad that the fans will take to because it will be 75 or 80 per cent of their own which is probably something we've been gearing towards for a while."