Barnsley: Lee Johnson not afraid to call upon some fatherly advice

Gary Johnson and son Lee Johnson
Gary Johnson and son Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson won’t have far to look if he needs some advice in his job as Barnsley’s new head coach.

And although he has stressed he will be his own man at Oakwell, trying to implement a philoshopy that will guide the club back to the Championship, the 33-year-old knows his dad Gary is always on hand to help if needed.

Johnson played under his dad at Yeovil before getting his first managerial break at Oldham in March 2013.

But now the tough challenge of trying to get the Reds promoted to the second tier awaits – and that’s bound to test the Football League’s third youngest manager.

“My dad has been a manager for 20-odd years, so he’s always there to lean on,” admitted Johnson junior.

“He’s certainly a good tool for me, someone to lean on if I need too.

“It was massive decision for me to come here after all the due diligence.

“But you believe you’re going to be the person who breaks the mould and achieves something fantastic.

“If we can all pull in the right direction we’ve got a great chance of being successful here.”

Johnson beat off some stiff competition for the job, most notably Swindon manager Mark Cooper, who was the Reds’ first-choice for the job.

But alongside his assistant coach Tommy Wright, Johnson is quietly-confident the Reds can build for the future and get back to where the club’s chief executive, Ben Mansford, believes they “rightfully” belong.

“What we’ve wanted to do from the start of the season is to build from the bottom up so, when we get back into the Championship – and that’s what we all want to do – we get back to where we rightfully belong,” said Mansford.

“Our ultimate target is building from the bottom and, although we’ve had to make a very difficult decision with Danny Wilson, we believe we’re not a million miles away from really kicking on with that process.”

“We were looking for a young, hungry, fresh and dynamic individual. We wanted an individual who wasn’t tainted by any degree of failure or repetitive sacking system.

“The right person was going to be a talented coach with a philosophy that matched the attacking brand of football the owner and the fans want to see.

“He’s [Lee] very ambitious, diligent and organised. His ambitions mirror ours and he’s very passionate about the game.

“We feel he will get the very best out of what we’ve got.

“We’ve got a lot of things to be excited about. We’re four points off the play-offs and I believe we’ll continue to rise up the table.”

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