Ex-Newcastle United defender favourite to take charge at former Premier League club

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A familiar face for Newcastle United supporters is favourite to take charge at Oldham Athletic.

Former Newcastle United star Mike Williamson is favourite to take over at National League club Oldham Athletic.

The former Magpies centre-back has impressed in his first managerial role with Gateshead after initially taking charge at the International Stadium following a supporter-led takeover in the summer of 2019.

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After reaching the National League North play-offs in his first season in management, Williamson’s side eventually secured a return to non-league football’s top tier when they claimed the National League North title in May 2022.

The 39-year-old has also enjoyed success in the FA Cup, helping the Heed to the ‘proper’ rounds of the competition in three of his four seasons in charge, with the high point coming when League One club Charlton Athletic visited the International Stadium for a live televised second round tie in December 2021.

Along with trusted assistant manager Ian Watson, Williamson also led Gateshead to their first ever major cup final appearance at Wembley last season as their side fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat against FC Halifax Town in the FA Trophy Final.

A successful battle to preserve their National League status came against the odds last season and the momentum has continued into the current campaign as Gateshead sit one point and point place outside of the play-off places following Saturday’s draw at Aldershot Town.

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That draw in Hampshire was secured at the same time league rivals Oldham slipped to a 3-0 defeat against a Bromley side managed by former Newcastle United goalkeeper coach Andy Woodman.

The defeat brought an end to David Unsworth’s reign at Latics manager and Williamson is currently 4/1 favourite to take over at Boundary Park. However, the former Magpies star - who made over 160 appearances for Newcastle during a five-year stay at St James Park - has given absolutely no indication he is ready to seek pastures new and has consistently spoken of his determination to improve Gateshead in their push for success.

Speaking recently about his outlook on life at the International Stadium, he said: “We know the players had a high ceiling and we just give them that encouragement and detail to realise their potential. There is still a lot of room for improvement and we wouldn’t focus on any negatives if the boys couldn’t handle it. We are all working hard to improve and push forwards because we know we have a good opportunity to progress here.”

Williamson is not the only individual with North East connections to feature in the market to take charge of Oldham with former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips rated at 10/1and former Newcastle centre-back Sol Campbell rated at 16/1.

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