Gateshead Football Club are delighted to announce the signing of former Newcastle United defender Mike Williamson on a one year deal.

Williamson

A familiar name to those on Tyneside, experienced centre-back Williamson, amassed over 130 top-flight appearances for the Magpies over a five-year spell.

He was part of Alan Pardew’s side who claimed a surprise fifth-place finish in 2011/12.

And after securing his 13th signing of the summer, Heed boss Steve Watson was pleased to get Williamson on board.

“As much as we’ve built and progressed over the summer we still haven’t been able to add that bit of experience and Mike certainly brings that,” said the former Newcastle defender.

“It’s massive experience that he brings to the club having played at the highest level.

“As I’ve said I’ve tried to build a squad full of the right characters and Mike is certainly one of those,” Watson added.

“He’s a very intelligent lad and is looking at going further in the game, he helps us out on and off the pitch and is still a hell of a player.

“When you’ve got games like Dover, Sutton, teams like that you need to stand up to the physical battle and he brings that to the side.”

Prior to his spell at Newcastle, Williamson made just shy of 200 appearances for Football League sides Torquay United, Wycombe Wanderers and Watford.

The 6ft 4in defender has earned three promotions as a player, most recently with United, as they claimed the 2009/10 Championship title.

The signing may appear quite a coup but manager Watson stressed Williamson’s desire to play for Gateshead.

“I explained to him how we’ve had our backs to the wall all summer, how we’ve built a young hungry squad and Mike bought into that straight away,” the former Everton defender continued.

“He was committed to living in Newcastle with his family long before we spoke, he’s got a lot of ties up here and it works out well for both parties.

“I know Mike has had offers from elsewhere over the summer and he’s certainly not here for any other reason, he wants to play for the football club.

“He believes in the process and what we’re trying to do, the only reason it hasn’t been done earlier was to get him playing competitive football as he hasn’t for a while.

“He’s been patient, he hasn’t demanded to sign I like the way he’s gone about things and I think he’ll enjoy it here.”

Since leaving Newcastle with 170 appearances and two goals to his name, Williamson spent two seasons at Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Championship before moving to League One side Oxford United last season, where he made 17 appearances in all competitions.

At 34, Williamson is more than 10-years older than the average age of the Gateshead squad as he brings a wealth of much-needed experience to an extremely young Tynesiders group.

Williamson will wear his trademark number 6 shirt from his time at Newcastle, for the Heed and is available for selection for tomorrow’s match at home to Dover Athletic at the International Stadium.

Watch is first interview as a Gateshead player here…

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