GATESHEAD Football Club are pleased to announce that midfielder JJ O’Donnell has signed a new one-year contract at the International Stadium.
Capable at playing in a number of positions across the midfield or at left back, O’Donnell made a handful of appearances last season having returned from injury that kept him out for two and a half years.
O’Donnell is Steve Watson’s fifth signing of the summer and was delighted to get a new deal.
“It’s good to get another year on my contract, I know it’s been a bit of a troubled summer and things haven’t gone brilliantly or how the club would’ve wanted,” said the former Luton man.
“But it was always my intention to stay as the club has meant a lot to me over the last few years.
“Things are going to change, it’s going to be a younger squad on a smaller budget but it’s a club that I’ve always wanted to stay at.”
In what has been a difficult summer for the club, Steve Watson reiterating his desire to remain as the first-team coach played a part in O’Donnell’s decision to stay.
“I did have another option but as soon as the gaffer wanted me to stay it was always going to be my first choice,” he added.
“I’ve been here four years now and it’s a place that means a lot to me. The club means a lot to me.
“I want to be able to help and fight for this club, we know it’s going to be tough with a young squad who perhaps haven’t played in the National League much.
“I want to be playing week in week out, Saturdays and Tuesday.
“It’s probably expected that we’ll go down with the budget we’ve got but with the gaffer staying that’s a huge bonus.
“Him, Micky Cummins and Ben Clark staying have been a huge boost and we’ll all be looking to cause somewhat of an upset by finishing higher than others will expect.
“It’s going to be a battle but it’ll be one I want to be a part of and I’ve always wanted to help the club the best I can.”
Having made 13 appearances last season O’Donnell is hoping to improve on that next season.
“Next year hopefully it’ll be more time on the pitch for me and as a more senior player on the pitch hopefully I can try and help some of the younger lads on the pitch,” continued the former Luton midfielder.
“I just want to do well for the football club and I didn’t play as much as I wanted to last season but that’s purely down to me.
“You can make excuses for why you haven’t been good enough and I take full responsibility for last season but I’ve worked hard in the offseason to get as fit as I can.”
O’Donnell paid tribute to the chairman and supporters ahead of next season, saying: “To give supporters a clubthat’s something to be proud of and hopefully we can achieve something on the pitch.
“It’s brilliant from Richard and Julie, it’s an expensive club and it’s brilliant that there’s still a club.
“For them to put their hands into their pocket again to keep the club going it’s incredible.
“But for the supporters, it’s the heartbeat of Gateshead, you get the same faces every week who travel up and down the country.
“Players, managers and staff will come and go but the fans are really what keeps the football club going.
“I’m glad that there’s still a club for them, it’s about the people who were here 20 years ago and who’ll be here in 20 years time, for those people to still have a football club it’s massive.”