WATCH GARY BOUNCE BACK...
I HAVE had my fair share of run-ins with Gary Johnson. When I was a younger manager, we locked horns in a literal sense. And more recently, it was he and his Yeovil team that put the final nail into my Preston coffin.
But my healthy respect for Gary reached an all-time high when he incredibly took Yeovil to the Championship in that same season in 2012-13. That achievement really shouldn’t be underestimated. Yeovil were not a big budget League One club when they won promotion. Gary did a sensational job.
Relegation was almost inevitable. Yeovil were never going to be able to compete with the Championship big guns unless they got really lucky and sensed that their philosophy was to accept that, to do their best but to take a long term view on the cash that promotion had created.
After suffering that relegation, it was then inevitable that Yeovil’s better lads would move on, which they did, so there was the double whammy of demotion and disintegration.
Before he knew it Gary was at the bottom end of League One while his former player Luke Ayling, for instance, topped the table at Bristol City.
But if there is one thing I feel really sure of it is that Gary Johnson would have worked the answers out. He has proven time and again that he is a brilliant manager. He would have turned the corner given time. It is a tough, tough job to sort out losing. But you just know he would have got there.
There will be a fortunate club in the League that will benefit from Gary’s situation.
Because whoever takes him on next will employ a wounded animal steeled with determination to bounce back stronger than ever, but also a wonderfully talented manager who knows the game inside out, who has the respect of his peers and who makes positive things happen.
There are times when you know a manager will be ready to answer back. Gary Johnson will be.