Gateshead “in capable hands” as former Toon keeper announced as interim manager

Written by on 18th October 2023

Former Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot has been named as interim manager of Gateshead after the departure of Mike Williamson to MK Dons was confirmed.

Elliot had previously been working at Gateshead as technical director but will now have the task of running first-team duties alongside players Louis Storey and Carl Magnay.

North East Non-League reporter Mark Carruthers told Spark that Gateshead are “in capable hands” after Elliot’s appointment but conceded that coming games are tricky for the club now in transition to a new coaching staff.

“There is a tricky run of fixtures coming up,” he said.

“They travel to top of the league Chesterfield and then face Barnet and Solihull in quick succession.

“So, continuity will have been important [in the decision by Gateshead to hire Elliot as interim].”

It is unclear what the club’s view on a more permanent replacement for Williamson will be.

In a statement on the club website, Gateshead chairman Neil Pinkerton said: “Rob, Louis and Carl will continue in their roles for an unspecified period, and therefore the club is not accepting applications.”

However, Carruthers believes that fans will be understanding of Williamson’s move to the League Two club.

“If he had gone to another National League team there would have been some resentment, but he hasn’t taken a sideways step, he has taken a step up to the Football League,” he said.

“There is absolutely a chance that Williamson can manage in the Championship or Premier League in the future.

“He is good friends with Russell Martin [former MK Dons manager, now at Southampton]. He is ambitious and him and his coaching team want to go as far as they can.”

It is a view echoed by Tyne and Wear TV journalist Daniel Wales who has said that MK Dons fans are “in for a treat” with Williamson’s style of football, but that there has been “no animosity” from Gateshead fans to the news of the departure.

Gateshead have been widely praised for their energetic passing game this season with a goal in their game against Kidderminster seeing 37 passes with 10 separate players touching the ball before hitting the net. It has been viewed more than half a million times on X.


“Given what Williamson has done for the club it is hard for fans to be resentful towards him. He’s earned chance to go to a League club,” Wales said.

He added: “There have been a lot of personnel changes but the style has not changed. Gateshead are easy on the eye, quick in transition and good off and on the ball.

“The team have bought into the way they play. I am sure Rob Elliot will continue to implement Williamson’s ethos.”

In a statement to Gateshead’s official website, Elliot said:

“It is important for the players to know that things aren’t going to change from what we’ve been doing. There’s so many positives at the club right now and that’s what we’re going to focus on.”

Speaking to MK Dons’ website, Williamson said: “It’s been a quick turnaround and it was a tough decision to leave Gateshead but when a Club like this comes in, it’s a no brainer.”

Gateshead currently sit sixth in the National League with Elliot’s first game in charge coming on Saturday 21 October away to league leaders Chesterfield.

Current track