Carl Magnay feels it is no surprise to see Gateshead competing at the top end of the Vanarama National League North after re-joining the club.
The defender spoke after completing his return to Tyneside for the remainder of the 2021/22 season, revealing how the culture at the club won him over.
“I’ve always had a soft spot for Gateshead having played here before and it being my hometown club,” said Magnay.
“I came in during the summer and had achat as well but felt at the time that part time still suited me, but things have changed since then.
“It was a really difficult decision in the summer because I was so impressed with Mike, Ian and Louis’ vision and it’s no surprise to me that the club are sitting where they are.
“They were a huge pull – I like what they’ve built, the culture they’ve created and I think their philosophy suits me.
“I like high standards and Mike sets those on a daily basis, he’s always pushing players on and demanding more.
“It’s important that you’ve got someone there who is constantly wanting more from you and he certainly does that.
“Having a clear plan and identity of how you want to go about winning games is really important for me, and they have a clear plan that they work to and a great group of lads who are really receptive to that.”
Magnay originally joined The Heed in January 2012 and went on to make 77 appearances for the club, including in the 2014 Conference Premier play-off final against Cambridge United.
The 32-year-old is pleased to see the club on an upward trajectory after a troublesome period, adding: “It’s nice to be back.
“It’s a club I’ve always looked out for since I left and it’s really pleasing to see the club in good hands after the troubles it has gone through.
“There are a lot of things that take me back, the environment, the changing rooms, the staff at the ground and seeing people I haven’t seen in a long time.
“There are a lot of similarities actually in the way the team plays as well.
“When I was here under Gary Mills in the team that got to the play-off final they liked to play football in a similar way.”
Magnay’s addition to the squad makes the defender one of only two players in their 30’s amongst the playing staff alongside player-manager Mike Williamson, and he feels adding value off the pitch has become a key attribute as his career has unfolded.
“I’m getting to the point in my career where I try to be as valuable off the pitch as I am on it,” he added.
“This is a brilliant group of lads, I’ve been really impressed in terms of their ability to take on information and action it on the pitch.
“There’s no arrogance amongst any of them, they all want to listen and learn and you see that from the way they take on information from Mike, Ian and Louis.
“I’ve been brought in as a senior player to also be that extra voice and in the couple of weeks I’ve been in training any information I’ve passed on as an older player has been well received.
“They keep me on my toes, put it that way!
“The lads train sharp, they’re all hungry and they’re helping me get back up to speed as a player as well so it’s a great environment to be in.
“I felt it coming through the door straight away that there’s that mentality, you sense that you’re coming into a place where the boys are doing well.”
Magnay is eligible to be selected for Saturday’s opening home fixture of 2022 against Chorley and feels it’s an opportunity for the squad to show their character following last weekend’s defeat at Blyth Spartans.
“They’ve had their first disappointment for a while so this will be a good test of character,” he said.
“You’ve got to be able to deal with a bit of adversity and it’ll be the making of a lot of the younger boys in the squad in general, in how they react to that.
“They’re a confident bunch and that’s what you get with young players, they’re all fearless.
“I haven’t sensed any nervousness or tension, everyone just wants to get back out on the pitch and get three points.”