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Darlington appoint ex-Newcastle, Aston Villa, Everton, West Brom, Sheff Wed player

Darlington appoint ex-Newcastle, Aston Villa, Everton, West Brom, Sheff Wed player turned non league manager Steve Watson.

They have got their man, Watson comes in on contract to the end of the season, with the task of trying to keep them in the National League North.

The defeat to Scarborough spelled the end of Josh Gowling‘s time in charge, as does it for caretaker Danny Rose.


Darlington Football Club would like to announce that we have today appointed Steve Watson as our new manager.

Steve has a huge amount of managerial experience in this division, having managed York City and Chester, as well as Gateshead in the division above. He was on the brink of promotion with York three seasons ago until Covid intervened. He has also coached at Birmingham City and Macclesfield.

Since he left Chester in April 2022, he has been coaching at Newcastle United’s Academy.

As a player, he made 557 appearances, scoring 38 goals, for Newcastle United, Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield Wednesday. He played for Newcastle in the Champions League, Cup Winners Cup and UEFA Cup, as well as the Premier League.

Steve has signed a contract for the rest of the season. You can watch an interview with Steve below…

Interviewer: Steve welcome to Darlington you’re our new manager you must be relishing the challenge getting us out of the predicament that we’re in at the moment

SW: Yeah thank you yeah, I am um obviously I’ve um thought long and hard about my career uh I took a step back for a year or so started coaching at the Academy in Newcastle just to improve me coaching and learn new and different ways of of coaching I’ve had some fantastic experience with some great people there but um all was in the back of my mind was ready to start to to want to go back and in really competitive football and and this is an opportunity that’s that that’s hopefully tailor made for me

Interviewer: Have you been watching the streams of our matches? If you have been, what did you make of our game yesterday?

SW: I just thought it would look like a team at the moment really lacking in confidence um and and belief and that’s something that probably one of the first things that we need to try and turn around but you know belief and confidence comes with results in football so you know that first win for me hopefully with with the way that we’re going to try and start to play we’ll give them the belief that they they can do it and and you know as a club there’s not been much consistency this year you know not even back to back win so that’s something we need to address as well but you know one step at a time we’ll get the team together um I’ll get into their heads and find out you know what their thoughts are because I think that’s very important if you’ve got an honest group of lads to get their thoughts on on the situation um have a look at the system see if the system suits the personnel and if not what system might work better and and you know systems are systems are things that um every manager has different opinions on so I’ll have a look at that but ultimately um it’s it’s all the basics that we just need to improve on you know we need it’s not rocket science uh we need to play higher up the pitch we need to play with a higher tempo we need to be braver on the ball um and even even uh even stopping the rot of getting beat probably isn’t enough at the moment we need to win and we need to win games quickly

This is how fans reacted as Darlington appoint the ex-Newcastle, Aston Villa, Everton, West Brom, Sheff Wed player turned non league manager…

@Markodarlo: Can’t argue with that, would have preferred Fenton but good luck to Steve, let’s hope he can turn this around! Let’s continue to support the squad and install some positivity. 👏🏻

@onesamaaron: Congrats on getting the right man in at the second time of asking 👍 Welcome to the club, Steve! Onwards and upwards now! Together as one, we can do this

@sandylane2009: Met Steve a few times when we lived in Cheshire. Knew he was keen to get back to the North East but it’s a big job to pull off the great escape . 👍🤞

@MichaelBarrass1: Welcome onboard Steve it is going to need a miracle but we are 100% behind you

@Rio_Doherty: Good luck Steve, apart from the final day of course.

@Dandfcwalker97: We’ll done Darlo and good luck Steve got a hell of a job on your hands but you are more then capable, come on Darlo

@stretcha75: We are where we are, 22 games to salvage it. Absolutely pointless looking backwards, deep down everyone knows that we only do this if we’re united and pulling in the same direction. Best of luck Steve! ⚫️⚪️

@kevinluff: Happy with that. It’s a big task, but pointless moaning about it now. If we can stick together and pull in the same direction we might have a shout. Like the interview as well, doesn’t sound like he’ll be mucking about. Welcome aboard Steve.

@matthew_bartram: The right call and the call we should’ve made back in September. Bloke has an absolute mountain to climb but if anyone can sort us out it’s him ⚫️⚪️

@sean_allen3: Happy with that appointment, should have got the job in September mind and we’d not be in this mess

@darloscott: 22 games left to save our season… good luck Steve! We’ll be right behind you… let’s do this #2024

@brookas07: I wonder who will be more effective at tapping into player resources from the North East… Mr “I know Eddie Howe” or Steve Watson, who has been coaching at Newcastle’s academy. I know who my money’s on. Welcome to the club Steve, huge task but hopefully you’re the answer 💼

@andilong: Was genuinely expecting him to turn up at pools so pleasantly surprised by this appointment, let’s get him backed now, both vocally and financially!

@EllisRochester: Fucking YES. Who it should have been when we got rid of AA

@LynnoJay: Here we go 2024 is our year ⚫️⚪️

@Darlotoon: Welcome to Darlo and best of luck.

@craigdouglas_: Being a part owner of the club I’m really happy with this appointment! #YourClub #WeAreDarlo

@DarloTotty: Yesss!! Great appointment by the club!

@Rennie__23: Season starts now ⚫️⚪️

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