OPPOSITION Q&A – Gateshead FC by Nathan Bell


Nathan discusses Gateshead FC ahead of the NL game


I’m a sports journalism student near Newcastle hoping to work my way into the industry. This season I’ve been filming Gateshead’s home matches, and the footage of that has been used for BT’s highlights show as well as the majority of the National League TV streams on top of the club’s own highlight videos. It’s been a rewarding experience and I’m looking forward to a handful of home matches before the end of the season to hopefully see a few more positive results!


Adjusting to life in the National League would always be difficult and it’s proven a real challenge so far, but it’s to be expected when you’re alongside the likes of Wrexham, Oldham, Notts County, historic names like that, Southend too. Momentum’s never really been a thing and I went months between wins at home it felt like, so seeing the team win live isn’t something I ever take for granted. We’ve tried but if that isn’t enough there’s no hard feelings on my part. 


The matches against Oldham have been a highlight for me. The fact a club the size of them, with all their history, have tried but failed to beat us three times – twice in the league and once in the cup – is crazy to me but it proves that football doesn’t always follow the usual script. Besides that, the FA Trophy run has been fantastic and a day in London in May doesn’t sound like the worst idea no matter the circumstances. We came minutes away from beating Notts County so I’ll remember that one somewhat fondly, though I might be alone in this, from near the beginning of the campaign. 


The last six league games: W1, D3, L2 (6 scored and 7 conceded). The teams faced were Oldham away, Southend away, Oldham at home, Maidstone away, Chesterfield at home and Halifax at home. So like I’ve said before, wildly inconsistent but it’s only natural for a team in our position. The good thing I suppose is that we’re mostly picking up points here and there.  .


The real fan favourite at the moment is Kamil Conteh who the club managed to sign from Middlesbrough in September, and again in January when his original loan expired. He scored the winning penalty against Farsley Celtic at the weekend and he’s just been named the club’s player of the month. It would be a real coup if the club could keep him into next season. Fans have been coming to games adorned with a Sierra Leone flag which I thought was amazing. Other players I’d consider important are Adam Campbell, Greg Olley and for his man-of-the-match performance on Saturday the keeper, James Montgomery


Mike Williamson is player-manager, and at the age of 39 he still makes occasional appearances at the back, like at the weekend in the cup due to a threadbare squad. He tries to play an attractive style of play which does leave us prone to late equalisers or winners for the opposition, which has cost us points or wins at York, Notts County like I said before, Barnet and Chesterfield just to name a few. The right intentions there but with the quality of the squad being more limited than other teams in the division (especially up top as our only clinical finisher Danny Elliott, who himself was signed on loan, has left for Scunthorpe) it’s difficult to play your way to wins a lot of the time. 


Wrexham outclassed us in the second-half of the home match in January, after what I thought was an acceptable first-half performance to be hanging on. We are competing with teams with fan bases and budgets far greater than ours so those challenges are only natural. I just want to make a point about Macaulay Langstaff as well. He was ours last season, like team-mate Cedwyn Scot. What a powerhouse – he’s looked even better in the league above this year! One of the best, if not the best, the club has had on its books for a long time and I’m really excited to see how his career turns out. The National League surely isn’t his limit. 


Greatest strength is that we try to play attractively and it works as long as you have a natural finisher. Since Elliott was recalled and then sold by his parent club, it’s felt like we’re limiting ourselves in the final third. Creating chances hasn’t ever been a problem, the movement’s seemed fine for the most part too, it’s just making the final pass work or making the most of what we produce. It can get really frustrating but that’s life near the bottom of the league for you! It hasn’t helped that my last two matches have seen 0 goals scored excluding a penalty shoot-out but maybe that’s recency bias affecting my answer! 


I’ve mentioned for a previous answer that we’re competing with teams who are much bigger historically, with greater fan bases and more money. It’s always going to be difficult the first year adjusting to a new and higher division with a limited budget, though selling Langstaff and Scott no doubt helped in part to give us something to work with.  I think in a relegation fight you take each game as it comes and while I hope for the best I’m also expecting the worst. The cup run, as great as it has been to see for the most part in person, might prove a distraction in the coming weeks when focus needs to be solely on survival. Fingers crossed we stay up but it isn’t due to a lack of effort if they go down fighting. 


The club has a great concourse if any of your fans want to try that out. I’m sure Dicksons, which does pastry meals, is a partner of the club (it was last season at least!) and their food is always a treat. It might not be the most glamorous option but there’s a McDonalds near to the stadium. The nearest pub – and probably the only one – is called The Schooner and it’s quite a traditional rock-and-roll-themed place. 


I’ve never been an optimist when it comes to football but that makes a positive result seem that bit better! Two teams near the bottom, a draw seems fair so I’ll go with a 1-1 tie. If there’s a winner in this game then it will do wonders for the survival hopes of either one of us. Results like these can go a long way when every point counts. 








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I simply live and breathe Football and have supported Torquay United since 1989. I am a season ticket holder on Bristows and a Trust member. I set up TorquayTalk in 2017 to give true supporters a voice and honest opinions on their club.

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