Gateshead, the newly demoted National League North club, have opted for the former Newcastle United defender Mike Williamson as player-manager.
Williamson, 35, steps up from the role of player-coach he performed last term, and will be assisted by the ex-Blyth Spartans defender Ian Watson.
The former Oxford United centre-half, Williamson, says he is looking forward to the huge task of turning around the fortunes of the Heed, “I’m very excited to be the new manager of Gateshead.
“Last season was thoroughly enjoyable, I really loved it, and got a good taste of the coaching side of things and it’s something I have always wanted to do.
“I will still be involved on the pitch as well so it will be fantastic for my personal development, but also for the lads that we can bring in and create the same sort of environment that we did last season.
“I still feel that I’ve got a lot to give as a player and feel as fit as ever. I found that I could have a really good influence on the team coaching from within as well as on the sidelines. I’m just going to keep pushing and giving everything that I’ve got as I have done throughout my career.
“I aim to be a manager that improves people and creates a highly competitive environment but I want the players who come here to know that I will do everything I can to improve them and people and players.
“Gateshead is a fantastic club with a great group of fans and I’ll always believe that as a manager and player you’re a custodian of the football club because it’s the fans who are the real owners and essence of the club at the end of the day.
“It has been proven here because the way this club has been saved is just a true testament to the fans and people of Gateshead.
“I feel I know more than anybody just what football means to the people up here on Tyneside and that for me is the biggest element because I want to try and grow the club as much as I can in the community.
“Having Ian on board is fantastic as well, we’re looking to put together a squad of homegrown players that want to play for Gateshead Football Club and Ian is key to that with his contacts, passion and ambition for football in the area.
“Playing in the National League North is what it is, and we accept that, but with everything that has gone on we are just really pleased that the football club still exists, and the fact that we’re still a professional outfit operating at a good level is a miracle.
“At the minute it’s very early doors but the aim is to get the club back into the National League as soon as possible”.
Images: Gateshead FC.