Ex-Newcastle United defender Mike Williamson confirms he's set to play on - despite his new managerial aims

Former Newcastle United defender Mike Williamson has confirmed that he will continue to combine player and managerial duties at Gateshead next season.

Thursday, 18th June 2020, 3:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th June 2020, 3:28 pm
Mike Williamson

It’s just under two years since the former Magpies centre-back moved back to the North East and became a popular figure with the Heed Army.

His first season saw the International Stadium club hampered by off-field issues – but Williamson showed his class on the pitch to help the club challenge for a National League play-off place.

He stepped up to the role of player-manager last summer after Gateshead were forcibly relegated into the National League North as a punishment for financial irregularities under their former owners.

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However, Williamson made a bright start to his managerial career as a hastily assembled Heed squad adjusted well to life in non-league’s second tier and Wednesday’s vote to end the season on a points per game basis saw them end the campaign in a play-off place.

The club have offered no comment over the National League’s announcement and are awaiting further information on the play-offs – but Williamson has confirmed that he will play on as long as he can do a job for his side.

He told the club website: “I want to play every minute I possibly can that is going to help the club.

“That hasn’t changed, and I don’t think it will until the day I hang my boots up.

“I want to put the most competitive team out every week, and if we collectively decide that my name is on the team sheet then so be it, I want to play every game.”

Williamson has been a key figure as Gateshead moved away from the dark days of last summer when they were taken to the brink of going out of existence.

The club are now under the ownership of a supporter-led consortium that are working hard to rebuild the club on and off the pitch.

A budget booster initiated and led by Gateshead supporters has been a success as it surpassed the £16,000 mark earlier this week after moving beyond its initial £10,000 target within ten days of its launch.

Every penny will be put to good use as the club contends with the financial challenges and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus epidemic.

Williamson remains optimistic for the future of the club and revealed that he has confidence in the directors to build on the strong foundations they have put in place over the last 12 months.

“I’m an optimist in general,” said Williamson.

“Those are things that you can control, in terms of the environment and how hard we’re working to push the club forward.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty with things we can’t control, but I’m very comfortable and confident in the directors and how they’re steering the ship.

“I want to be a massive part of that, along with the coaching staff and the players.”