Mike Williamson’s journey from Portsmouth Reserves to Newcastle captain in 2 years
Mike Williamson will captain Newcastle tonight on their return to European football against Greek side Atromitos. Newcastle haven’t competed in Europe since 2007, where they were eliminated in the last 16 of the Uefa Cup and their transformation from Championship to European football is impressive, as is Mike Williamson’s story.
3 years ago Williamson signed for Portsmouth for £2 Million from Watford, although his career didn’t exactly hit the ground running. Shortly after signing Portsmouth’s financial position worsened, resulting in Williamson being banished to play in the reserves in order for him not to trigger any performance related bonuses related to the transfer, which would have forced Pompy to pay Watford additional fee’s.
Newcastle came to his rescue in January 2010 and plucked him from the obscurity of playing reserve games. Newcastle paid the transfer fee directly to Watford, because as it turned out Portsmouth hadn’t even stumped up any of the transfer fee. Williamson went onto win the Championship with Newcastle and become a regular in the team during the clubs 2 Premier League seasons since promotion.
Williamson will lead Newcastle out tonight in West Athens and his roll will be to nurture through some of the younger talent on show tonight such as fellow defender James Tavernier who will most likely start at right back. The transformation is an impressive one and despite coming in for some criticism from some United fans Williamson has always given 100%, maximising his potential to the extent that he will captain one of Britain’s biggest clubs tonight.
“Williamson will be captain,” Pardew said.
“He was brilliant for me last season, and just missed out on Saturday. I had this game in mind for him, as I felt it would suit him better.”