Steve Watson named new York City manager after quitting Gateshead

Steve Watson.
Steve Watson.

Steve Watson has quit as Gateshead manager to join York City.

The former Newcastle United player resigned from his position at the Heed after 15 months at the club, in which he has guided them to the fringes of the National League play-offs.

Watson, and assistant manager Micky Cummins, will take over at York, who sit 16th in the National League North table.

The Minstermen, who will be moving into a new stadium at the end of the season as they look to earn promotion back to the top-tier of non-league football, parted company with former Hartlepool United coach Sam Collins at the weekend

Watson was named as successor to former Heed manager Neil Aspin in October 2017 and led the club to the FA Trophy semi-final within six months of taking charge.

The Tynesiders were put up for sale by former owners Richard and Julie Bennett last summer, before being taken over by Hong Kong-based businessman Dr Ranjan Varghese.

That move left Watson to hastily put together a new-look Heed squad whilst working with a heavily reduced budget.

Pre-season predictions of a relegation battle were swept aside as Watson’s side put together a remarkable run of form to take them to the fringes of the play-off battle.

Striker Luke Armstrong, young defender Jon Mellish and former Newcastle United centre-back Mike Williamson all caught the eye as Gateshead ended 2018 in the National League’s top seven.

But Watson was dealt a blow when loan stars Armstrong and Luke Molyneux returned to parent clubs Middlesbrough and Sunderland earlier this month.

Moves to replace the duo have been hindered by a transfer embargo placed on Gateshead by the National League in September.

Watson’s last game in charge was a 2-1 home defeat against Solihull Moors on Tuesday night and he leaves the club sat in eighth place in the table, just one point and one place outside of the play-off places.

A club statement said: "Gateshead Football Club would like to sincerely thank Watson and Cummins for their fantastic work over their 15-month tenure in charge at the International Stadium.

"The move to York also ends Cummins' eight-year spell at Gateshead, the longest single spell at any club in his career.

"Gateshead Reserves' coach and former captain Ben Clark will be taking charge of first-team training in preparation for next Saturday's National League match at Salford City."