Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Williamson Relishing His Role Helping Young Guns NATIONAL LEAGUE

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Williamson Relishing His Role Helping Young Guns NATIONAL LEAGUE

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF BOWRON

FORMER Newcastle defender Mike Williamson is set to make his Gateshead debut against Dover Athletic at the International Stadium today.

The 34-year-old signed a one-year deal yesterday after training with the Heed for several weeks and playing in two friendlies.

Williamson, who spent six years at Newcastle, last played competitively in January for Oxford United at Charlton in the Football League Trophy.

He will be the elder statesman at Gateshead by some distance, the majority of the squad at the beginning of their careers.

The Tynesiders have opened the new Vanarama National League season with two wins, including a stirring 2-1 victory over title favourites Salford City.

Williamson will add height and experience to the back line and a threat at set-pieces, the centre-back keen to get his second stint on Tyneside under way.

He said: "I had six fantastic seasons on Tyneside.

"I have had offers which were more financially rewarding but I was desperate to come back.

"This for me is a passion project, the opportunity to try and guide a young group of players, develop them and put Gateshead on the map.

"The fan base is passionate. That is what the North East is all about and that is part of what attracted me back here.

"The opportunity for me to keep playing football was a no-brainer.

"I just want to contribute where I can on and off the pitch.

"I was lucky enough to do my apprenticeship in the lower leagues, so when I played in the Premier League I appreciated every second of it.

"It's a young, energetic and very talented group at Gateshead and it demonstrated what it is capable of against Salford on Tuesday.

"It's a long season, but when the lads turn up and play like that they can beat anybody. We're all in it together."

Manager Steve Watson is delighted to finally get the Williamson deal over the line. …

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