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New Gateshead boss Steve Watson says it was a “no-brainer” to join the club

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By Matt Bishop

New Gateshead boss Steve Watson has said it was a “no-brainer” to leave Macclesfield and make a return to North East, to take on his first managerial role.

The former Newcastle defender was appointed as the Heed’s new boss earlier today, after Neil Aspin left the club to take over at League Two strugglers Port Vale last week.

Having gained coaching experience alongside his good friend Lee Clark, at Huddersfield Town and Birmingham City, Watson became John Askey’s assistant manager at Macclesfield last year.

He has now made the step into management, and said: “I’m over the moon. I’m really, really happy – not just to be starting in management but to back in the North East, a place I know well.

“I know how football gets to people up here, I know how to get momentum going up here and I’ve just met the lads. They’re a really good squad and there’s no reason why we can’t be doing really well.

“From minute one, I was very open with John [Askey] at Macc. He knew my ambitions, and I knew if the right job came along, I’d go with his blessing.

“I had a great time at Macc – it’s a great club – but when a job comes up like this, it was a no brainer.”

After an excellent campaign last season, which saw Gateshead narrowly miss out on the National League play-offs, this season has so far been tough for the Heed who are currently languishing sixteenth in Non-League’s top-tier – their lowest league position since 2013.

Watson’s task will undoubtedly be to turn the season around, and the former Toon man is confident he can do just that.

“I believe what I say,” said Watson. “Our position is a bit false, so it’s a case of getting belief back into the lads, and getting their confidence back. There is no reason why we can’t start climbing that league.

“There is a good squad of players already here that is equal to most teams, if not every team, in this league.”

During the search for a new boss, which included applicants such as ex-Hartlepool boss Craig Hignett and Blyth manager Alun Armstrong, Gateshead chairman Richard Bennett said he want he wanted a manager that met his EFL ambitions.

Watson has huge desire to reach the football league, and thinks the Heed can get there, saying: “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe I could be successful, hopefully in my first season.

“I’m not here to stay where we are, to hover around mid-table. I’m here with an ambition to take the club forward. A lot of managers might come and take the pressure off themselves, steady the ship first season.

“I’m being honest, looking at the league, looking at who is in this league. We have the ability to go up and push.”

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