JJ O’Donnell has this message for Gateshead after leaving for rivals Blyth Spartans
JJ O’Donnell has described the “massive respect” he retains for Gateshead after leaving the International Stadium to join National League North rivals Blyth Spartans on a permanent basis.
The former Luton Town winger has spent the last seven years with the Heed and scored eleven goals in 107 appearances for the club.
O’Donnell joined Spartans on a short-term loan deal before the Covid-19 epidemic brought a premature end to last season.
That move has now been made permanent following his release from Gateshead and the 29-year-old has reflected on his time at the club as he prepares for life at Croft Park.
“Massive respect, it was seven good years,” he told the Spartans website.
“If I am honest, I wouldn’t be at Blyth now if I wasn’t at Gateshead for seven years.
“I moved to the North East, my home is in the North East and I had seven wonderful years at a great football club.
“I had a lot of highs, probably more lows than highs, but it’s football and I have respect for the Gateshead supporters and for Mike, Busted, all of the staff at Gateshead because they have been brilliant with me.
“Sometimes football doesn’t work out, opinions are different, and that’s what happened at Gateshead.
“I am forever thankful for the opportunity they gave me there.”
O’Donnell is now fully focused on helping Spartans improve after two poor seasons in non-league’s second tier.
The winger insisted that he can be successful during his time at Croft Park and believes that he has more to achieve as he heads into a new spell in his career.
“I had seven terrific years at a great football club, rivalry aside, and I know there’s a big rivalry, I had great times there, but I’m a Blyth player now and my aim is to do as well as I did at Gateshead here.
“I want to be as successful at Blyth as I was at Gateshead and get this club at the right end.
“I want to achieve more in my career, and I feel I still have more to give.”