FORMER Hartlepool United favourite James Brown admits that Gateshead was always his preferred destination following his release from Victoria Park.
The 25-year-old has penned a one-season deal with the Tynesiders having last month been told that his seven-year stay at Pools was over.
Gateshead – who are now a full-time outfit – were challenging at the top end of the BlueSquare Premier last season only to fall away from the play-off zone.
But, under manager Ian Bogie and assistant Terry Mitchell, the former Pools youth-team boss, Brown is hoping to make a return to League football at the International Stadium.
“This was the move I was after from the moment I was released from Hartlepool, and I’m delighted it has come off,” said Northumberland-born Brown.
“Gateshead being a local professional club was important but the way the side plays was the main attraction.
“Gateshead are a good fooballing side who play the right way and build from the back and it will be nice to be part of that.
“I played under assistant manager Terry Mitchell at Hartlepool and the manager, Ian Bogie, when I was younger and they are great blokes and good coaches.
“I had a pretty much injury-free campaign last season. It was just a case of not being picked and having to watch from the bench or the stands which I hate doing.
“I can’t wait to get started at Gateshead, work hard to get my place in the team and score a few goals.
“I haven’t had a knee injury now for two and a half seasons and to me they are now spot on.
“The club are so close to getting back into the Football League it would be great to be part of the team that gets there.”
Brown was one of seven players released by manager Neale Cooper at the end of last season.
Despite showing signs of promise since the turn of the year, the forward finished the campaign in the treatment room and his fitness record remained a concern.
Brown joins former Victoria :Park team-mate and the ‘Heed’ captain, Ben Clark, on Tyneside, as well as ex-Pools midfielder Phil Turnbull.