GATESHEAD have named former Newcastle United defender Mike Williamson as the club's new manager.

Former Heed No 2 Ian Watson has returned as assistant manager to assist Williamson, who made over 30 appearances for the club last season in a player-coach role.

Williamson will adopt a player-manager position and be assisted by former Blyth Spartans defender Watson when the action resumes in National League North next season.

The 35-year-old former Premier League defender joined Gateshead last summer from League One side Oxford United and made a big impact in his debut season at non-league level, picking up the National League player of the month for October 2018.

Williamson has also become his first official signing, subject to FA and National League ratification. He said: "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 still get to 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."

The processes necessary for renewal of Gateshead's licence are expected to be completed within the next week or so.