Gateshead coach highlights why he believes North East non-league scene has a bright future
Gateshead assistant manager Ian Watson believes that a bright future lies ahead for the North East non-league scene, writes Mark Carruthers.
Watson is well-placed to comment on the region’s clubs – having spent time in the Northern League, as well as spells with Blyth Spartans, Spennymoor Town and Darlington.
The former Whitley Bay defender brought an end to his playing career last season to take up a full-time role as assistant to former Gateshead manager Ben Clark.
He returned to the club when he was named as number two to new Gateshead manager Mike Williamson and the duo have been hard at work preparing the club for the new National League North campaign.
They will compete against a number of fellow North East sides in non-league’s second tier next season and Watson insisted that the competition is healthy for the region’s clubs.
He told The Echo “That is what excites me about this league – the fact that we have so many derby games.
“I’ve been at Blyth Spartans, Spennymoor Town and Darlington during my career, and they are great clubs, so I am looking forward to going back to those clubs with Gateshead.
“It’s good for the North East – the region needs those type of games.
“You have Morpeth Town, Marske United, Dunston UTS all kicking on from their time in the Northern League now – then there is South Shields and everything they are doing too.
“Obviously, with what is going on at the top, it’s really important that the region’s non-league scene has really strong clubs looking to push on.
“It’s all exciting and it’s all healthy rivalry between all of the clubs too.
“That all bodes well for the future because we are all pushing each other on, and I can see the National League and National League North having a number of clubs from the region in the coming years.”