Rookie who sold himself to Latics
Reporter: Matthew Chambers
Date online: 19 March 2013
So engrossed was he in flitting between TV, radio and press interviews that new Althletic manager Lee Johnson was forced to grab nothing more than a couple of slices of mid-afternoon toast once media duties had been completed.
Given Athletic’s finances compared to others in League One, cynics might suggest he should get used to picking up crumbs from under the table.
But such an attitude wouldn’t be welcomed by the softly-spoken, switched-on and determined 31 year old.
Johnson’s appointment was a shock to everyone outside the immediate team inner circle. With 120 applicants, no one would have thought the job of digging the club out of a relegation hole would be handed to a player not long past the peak of his career at Bristol City, Derby and Kilmarnock
But chairman Simon Corney saw something he liked in Johnson’s thoroughness.
A dossier of player strengths and weaknesses – compiled from watching games in the stands before Johnson had a sniff of landing the job - impressed the board. So did his interviews, said to be full of method and verve and more impressive than that of his rivals.
Plenty of fans disagreed in the strongest terms with Johnson’s appointment. Comments on this website were full of condemnation — much of which can boiled down to two words: Lee Who?
Johnson’s appointment has also been branded a cheap move, frivolous in its lack of regard for experience, given Athletic’s situation.
Corney strongly denies the appointment was made for financial reasons — and points out that “experience” is often a byword for failure elsewhere.
One of the most surreal moments of yesterday came when one interview coincided with a TV broadcast of his manager-father Gary’s reaction to his son’s appointment. Johnson looked at the screen and smiled.
If he and his chairman are still beaming after dad's Yeovil have rolled out of town in just under a month's time, Lee Who? will be well on the way to becoming in the minds of the majority Lee Johnson, promising young football manager.
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