IN FOCUS | Gateshead
Jun 26, 2019 803 Views

IN FOCUS | Gateshead

After a ten-year absence from the division, Gateshead are among new names who will complete in the Vanarama National League North during the coming season.

The Heed return to this level having experienced a season of much turbulence and, needless to say, they will be looking to find some much-needed stability during the campaign ahead.

After being deducted nine points for breaches of league rules, the Tynesiders were then demoted from the fifth tier of English football after being denied a license to play in the National League.

With new owners now at the helm, the club will be hoping that the forthcoming season is one when they can rebuild.

At the helm for Gateshead this season is the former Newcastle United centre back, Mike Williamson, who will combine his managerial duties with a playing role.

The 35-year-old joined the club last summer, before taking the position of player-coach in January under former manager Ben Clark.

Williamson will be looking to discover the longevity that eluded his recent predecessors. Despite only being appointed at the start of the year, Clark did not make it to the end of the season and was replaced by Dave Dickson, who himself lasted only 41 days.

As well as starting his first managerial role, Williamson will still remain a key asset to the squad as a player. His importance to the team was highlighted by being named the October Player of the Month reflected last season in a team which finished ninth, only to succumb to off-field strife.

A few players have signed new contracts with the club for the season ahead, whilst Alex Nicholson and Connor Oliver have joined the Heed.

With more new faces needed, Williamson has jokingly suggested his former Newcastle team-mate Hatem Ben-Arfa is next on his call list, as the former French international is currently without a club.

Gateshead ply their trade at the International Stadium, a venue Southport have visited regularly over the years, which becomes the biggest ground in the league with a capacity of 11,800.

Southport last played Gateshead in the 2016/17 season, the Heed winning both games 3-0 when both sides were in the National League.

Port manager Liam Watson will hope his side can come away better off when the pair come head to head again, while Williamson will want to construct a team to repair and recover from a troublesome last few months.

Written by Amos Wynn

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