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Matt Gatiss appointed SSFC Women head coach

Former Consett Ladies manager Matt Gatiss has been appointed South Shields Women’s new head coach ahead of the new NERWFL Premier Division campaign.

Gatiss joins following a successful stint at Consett, where he guided the team to promotion from the Durham FA Women’s League One at the end of last season.

He also served as Spennymoor Town Ladies’ assistant manager between 2019 and 2021 during a period in which the club secured double promotions.

Gatiss said: “A new challenge is always exciting and I’m looking forward to getting on the grass and getting coaching ahead of the season coming.

“When opportunities like this come up it’s not something which you can really turn down, especially when it’s a club like South Shields, with everything that’s gone on in both sides; the men’s and the women’s have gone from height to height.

“It’s an exciting project for sure and it’s something to get our teeth stuck into.”

Looking towards the future, the ambition is eventually to progress into the higher divisions, following in the footsteps of clubs like Durham Cestria and Newcastle United.

Gatiss added: “The long-term goal is to move us out of regional (leagues) into the National League because with the facilities and the players we’ve got, we should be competing with the likes of Cestria.

“Newcastle have gone professional now but that standard of team is where we should be aiming, and it’s completely within reach.”

The key word for Gatiss is ‘intensity’, and both home and away, that is how fans can expect his team to play.

He said: “I want South Shields to be really difficult to play against, horrible to play against for other teams, home and away.

“It’s about hard work and it’s about using all aspects of the squad. Like South Shields found last year, injuries can creep in but everyone in the squad will be involved and carrying the club together.

“That’s where it needs to be, it’s a squad game and that intensity is going to be absolutely crucial.

“Knowing the league, there’s a couple of familiar teams, and some teams coming down from above as well, but we’ll be looking to play a brand of football which will definitely get people excited.”

SSFC Women general manager Michael Gowans said: “Having been without a head coach for a large part of last season, we felt it was important to find the right candidate for the position.

“It is felt that with Matt’s drive and determination, he is the right fit for the role.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Alex Miller and Becki McMahon for all their hard work last season.

“Alex will now continue in the role of first-team assistant head coach, and Becki will return to playing and captaining the side.”

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