By Dominic Scurr
GATESHEAD Manager Steve Watson is preparing for next season but is just waiting for the ‘green light’ as takeover talks continue.
It’s been a frustrating week for Watson, with four first-team players leaving the club.
Russell Penn, Jordan Burrow and Wes York all joined National League North side York City while goalkeeper Dan Hanford also stepped down to the sixth tier to sign for Southport.
While Watson admits the situation is far from ideal, he was keen to stress his commitment to achieving success with Gateshead in the National League.
“From my point of view, with four players leaving in quick succession, I would just like to reassure fans and say that I’m still here, focused and committed to the club,” said the Heed boss.
“It’s just about waiting for the green light and being allowed to press on.
“It’s certainly a frustrating time for everyone associated with the club. It’s just a matter of being patient for myself, the fans and those players who want to stay and I want to keep at the club.
“But the situation is not something that you can rush, it has to take its course properly – obviously as far as I’m concerned, that will be sooner rather than later.
“There are players that have left this week and I’ve spoken to all of them and they all said just how much they enjoyed it up here. But they had decisions to make and offers on the table, which we can’t provide as of yet.
“Without naming them, there were players that left that I wanted to keep so it is disappointing but that’s where we are at the moment.
“Still, I’m poised and ready to get to work as soon as possible once I get the green light.”
Despite the Tynesiders’ season ending almost a fortnight ago, Watson has continued working behind the scenes in preparation for next season.
“I’ve been doing some work and speaking to the lads who are in my plans and want to sign for next season, but it’s just about the timeframe at the moment,” he continued.
“Some of these lads will have other offers and they won’t be able to wait around forever. It’s not uncommon at this level to have players leave like they have but what is uncommon is that we are not able to offer any deals ourselves right now.
“Most clubs have a good core of players in place for next season and we still have lads here who are in that position that I will be looking to build a team around moving forward.
“Hopefully they will be patient with me and the club but it’s difficult when other clubs are able to come in and offer two-year deals right now.
“But if things move quickly, then we’ll be ready to keep those players who are patient and want to stay here next season.”