Mike Williamson hailed a ‘collective effort’ after being named the Vanarama National League North’s Manager of the Season.
The player-manager was one of four Gateshead players to be recognised in the league’s End of Season Awards with Cedwyn Scott, Greg Olley and Macaulay Langstaff included in the Team of the Season, while Langstaff also received the Player of the Season and Golden Boot awards.
Williamson’s third season at the helm was the first to see a full season completed in the National League North since 2018/19, with Gateshead lifting their first title since 1986 to return to the National League after demotion in 2019.
The defender made 15 league appearances and scored once in a 1-0 win at Curzon Ashton, as well as leading The Heed to an Emirates FA Cup second round tie against League One side Charlton Athletic.
Williamson’s side earned plaudits for their free-flowing and energetic approach during the 2021/22 season which saw Gateshead score 99 league goals on their way to the league title – 27 more than the second-highest scoring team in the division, Kidderminster Harriers.
“For me, it’s a reflection of what the team has achieved,” said Williamson on being named Manager of the Season.
“The team has been phenomenal and there is no recognition for one person, there is the coaching staff, the group of the lads and the whole club.
“Everyone has been fighting in the same direction so all of the awards, even the Golden Boot, is a reflection of how solid the defence and midfield have been.
“It’s really nice for Macaulay, Greg and Ceds to get those rewards but it’s a reflection of the group and the strength within it.
“Myself and Busted [Ian Watson] initially came in, he brought Belly [Chris Bell, physiotherapist] in and Clarky [Ben Clark] was already here and a big part of the puzzle before Louis [Storey] came in this year.
“We’ve managed to grow the team with like minded people who want the same things as us, so it’s been a pleasure.”
The 2022/23 season will see Gateshead return to the fifth tier of English football following a three-year absence, a division the club spent 10 years competing in from 2009 to 2019.
Williamson admits odds will remain against his side once the season kicks off, adding: “I think we were underdogs this season and we will be underdogs next season.
“I don’t think anything will change in that respect, but we’ve still got that honest group of lads with a work ethic and a belief in themselves.
“That will continue into next season regardless of where we fare, budget or size of club.
“We know what our strengths and core values are, and that won’t change.”