Gateshead, which was up for sale, wasn’t able to sign any players when Steve Watson was appointed manager 13 months ago.
“I couldn’t have imagined my first job being more difficult,” said Watson, who will be in the dugout for a Gateshead Legends v Newcastle Legends match at the International Stadium on April 7 next year.
“This gives you valuable experience for the future. It’ll be an incredible learning curve for me. Probably managers that have managed for 20 years might not have had to endure the summer I’ve had, but I’ve enjoyed every minute. It’s been a challenge. Steve Watson.
“I came down to Macclesfield. I decided on a route to get into management. I had three good years there.
“I came and took a really big challenge on at Gateshead. I want to be a top manager. For most managers, you have to roll your sleeves up and go through the hard miles to get there. If I succeed, it’ll have been through hard work.”
Watson – who made more than 200 league appearances for Newcastle after coming up through the ranks at the club – has guided Gateshead up to eighth in the National League.
“You get weeks where if you lose a couple in a row, you get down about it,” said the 44-year-old.
“That’s only because you’re competitive.
“When you have a chance to step back, we’re a point outside the play-offs. We were in a bad situation in the summer in that we couldn’t sign any players. A lot of players left.
“We didn’t really know where the future of Gateshead was going to lie.
“From then to now, we’ve got to be happy with how we’ve progressed with a young squad. We keep getting better.”