Paul Stainton talks to Gary Johnson the new Peterborough United FC Manager. Broadcast at 08:20 on Wednesday 7th April 2010 in the Paul Stainton Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Peterborough.
PS: “Good luck to Mr Johnson by the way. I’m sure he’ll be a success. Definitely the right man for the job.” says Steve Thorpe. And Barry Fry, didn’t he give him the big buildup yesterday.
BF: (TAPE) The appointment has shook the world of football. And it’s sensational news for all Posh fans and players.
PS: How are you going to follow that, Gary?
GJ: Very very difficult. But you never try to follow Barry, you just bob along with him.
PS: Good morning my friend. Welcome back to Cambridgeshire, and nice to see you again yesterday. I’m sorry about punching you. I do apologise. But you do owe me a pint. Let’s clear that up straight away. Fifteen years ..
GJ: Yes I remember that and I apologise.
PS: Inflation. Inflation mate. that’s two pints now, OK?
GJ: You know I’m not a drinker, so I’ll send it to you.
PS: Yeah right. Listen, it’s all good news for you at the moment. Celia says: “Gary Johnson. How long do you intend to stick it out at Posh?“.
GJ: Well as long as necessary, and as long as you’re allowed to sometimes, you know. It’s something that’s a big job, because the Chairman has made it a big job. It’s a job that can get to excess. You always need that little bit of luck if you like, along the way. And if we can get that, then we’re all pushing in the same direction to try and get Peterborough towards its ambitions.
PS: This from Aaron. He says: “You’re the right man for the job. Good to see they’ve finally got the right man. ” Glen Matthews: “100% behind you.” Dean Lambert: “Interesting to know if you’ve got anything to say on the team now, instead of at the end of the season.” Will you be changing things now, or are you just having a look?
GJ: Well the staff are there, and they’ve been there for some months, and some for some years. So I’ll be sitting down with them and seeing what they think. But to be honest with you I’ve looked at the team over the last couple of months. I’ve had all the recent videos. Obviously I saw the Newcastle game live, so I’ve got a pretty good idea of what players need to play in what positions etcetera etcetera. I will have an input of course, a major input in the team, but I’ll be listening to everybody as well.
PS: Yes. Steven says: “Thank God the Posh got their act together and got a decent manager, and let’s keep it Posh and get behind him and his new ideas for the Posh.” Craig Buckley this morning says: “Gary, what do you expect from your teams, and how many players do you think you need, to get us back to the Championship at the first attempt?” Nice big question for you, early on.
GJ: That’s a great question, and it’s one that I’m thinking every day, because you have to keep improving anyway. I think there’s some very good players there. I think there’s some young players that need to grow in confidence. Because they are good players. And you always need to add to them. You need to freshen it up where you can. And we’ll have a good look around and see what we can bring in to improve the squad. Because it’s a good squad that you need of course, to go and win any Division.
PS: I won’t get you to answer this, but I’ll read it out anyway: Mick from Stanground says: “Does Mr Johnson realise he’s joining a circus, and Fry is the Head Clown?” From Ady: “Gary, welcome to Posh.” Serious question from Ady from PISA, he says: “When you first took over at Ashton Gate you culled a few big names. Do you intend to do that here, or would you prefer to keep the Holy Trinity?“
GJ: I think you have to do what’s on, and what’s available at the time. You can go round screaming and shouting about big players and big names, and experienced players, but there’s lots of circumstances. Sometimes they don’t want to come to the area, they want to live where their wife’s family are, up North or down South or something. So there’s lots of things. All I can say is that between us here at Peterborough now, we’ve got an array of names that we’ve .. I’ve been looking at over the years anyway, and you just keep following them up, and you hope that eventually you can bring one or two of those in.
PS: Chris Sharpe on our Facebook says: “What qualities are you looking for in players, and what makes a team successful? What qualities do you need?”
GJ: Anyone can write this list out, but of course you’re looking at that sort of commitment, you’re looking for winners, you’re looking for footballers that like playing football, whether it’s training or in games. You’re looking for people that want to earn a living and not nick a living. All those things that produce winning football teams and winning individuals of course. But you’ve got a lot of players in Peterborough at the moment, in the squad, that have done that. they were just a little bit maybe as a squad above themselves in the Championship, and we’ve got to make sure that that doesn’t happen again, that if we do get there we struggle, we’ve got to get there and compete. So I’ll be .. a lot of the lads that are here now will have gained that experience, and they’ll be better next time, if we can get there, or when we can get there as the Chairman says.
PS: Is it difficult for you Gary though, coming in? You’ve had three other managers this season so you’ve got a bit of one team, a bit of another, a bit of somebody else’s players, and you’ve got to pick through that.
GJ: Yes you have, and I’ll be using that excuse if we get beat. If we win, then I’ve got them all going myself. I’m looking forward to it. Whenever you join a new club it’s exciting, and you hope that you can .. I’ll see this morning when I take the lads training, which ones are up for playing for Gary Johnson, and they’re the ones that, I don’t care who brought them here, as long as they want to play for me.
PS: How long does it take you to judge whether a player’s heart is in it?
GJ: Ten minutes. We’ll have a five-a-side today and I’ll put a bit on it and we’ll wait and see. Hopefully I won’t have to do too much for the next week or so, because the lads that want their future at Peterborough will obviously be putting themselves about, and trying very hard to finish the season an a high. And that’s what I’ll be asking them to do. Throw the hand-grenade and see how the dust settles.
PS: You go steady with that five-a-side, because you’ve had three weeks out of football, and you look to be a couple of pounds overweight today Gary.
GJ: (laughs) That’s not very nice. Especially on radio.
PS: (laughs) I’m only kidding. You know me. I’m only messing about. But I mean looking at the set-up for Posh are you happy with the way things are set-up? Because there have been many many hints, many arguments, many heated words behind the scenes, between Manager and Director of Football, and people saying it’s a difficult thing to do, it’s difficult to get on with Barry. Is it the Barry and Gary Show, or is it the Gary and Barry Show?
GJ: (laughs) It’s the Peterborough United Show, and I’ll tell you the reason why I say that, it’s because whatever .. however people perceive people at the Club, actually every single person in that club, which is why I chose to be manager of Peterborough, and take the opportunity, they actually are all Paul giving a hundred per cent, and they’re trying to do their best for the football club. Now sometimes things get out publicly. Of course when somebody’s been at a club over a number of years you can’t please everybody. But I know Barry and the Chairman and lots of people at Peterborough are working really hard to get the Club to a status where it’s going to enjoy, and that’s all I can tell you really. And I’m happy to join that. Now what comes out publicly sometimes is a little bit exaggerated, and people have to deny things, and there’s a bit of a negativity, especially when a team is not doing so well, which is what happened last year .. this season. But they done very well the two seasons before that, and I’ve got to try and bring a positivity if you like, all round to the Club. And if ninety nine per cent of people are behind the situation at the moment, then that’s going to be enough to get a wave of enthusiasm and success.
PS: You mentioned yesterday, you went out to Orlando and spent some time with Darragh MacAnthony, and the difficulties of managing his expectations are all there to see. But did you have any doubts about joining Peterborough United?
GJ: No I didn’t. When a Chairman puts their own money into a football club, they know they’re not particularly putting that money in to earn money. It’s not like a profit-making business really. It’s just their enthusiasm and their love of the club, if you like, that keeps them putting money in. So I always resepect that, when people put their money in to a football club, and I’ve got to try and use that money, try and spend it of course for him, use that money to improve us, which always helps the Chairman enjoy his football, the person that is putting that money in. That’s what I’m going to try and achieve, to get the whole Club enjoying their football.
PS: What sort of football are we going to get from Gary Johnson?
GJ: Well I’m going to boot it as high as I can and then I’m going to boot it as long as I can.
PS: That’s John Beck surely.
GJ: (laughs) There was a lot to be said for some of that football.
PS: Sand the corners. Get the corner sanded.
GJ: That’s it. That’s the one mate. But, no, I like to see expectantly if that’s the word beautiful football, I like people to appreciate good football, and good movement, and young enthusuastic running, committed running, and we like to play combinations so that the public can see there’s some good football being played with an end product. That’s the important thing as well. It’s no use being Real Madrid and keeping the ball for twenty, thirty passes, and then going nowhere, going back to the keeper, who ends up booting it up the field anyway. We’re going to try and have an end product, try and excite people, but we can all talk a good game. We’ve got go and produce it.
PS: Well listen. We wish you all the best, and we’re glad to see you back in Cambridgeshire, particularly glad to see you at London Road. On behalf of all Posh fans, i think. It seems to be unanimous at the moment, long may it continue, eh?
GJ: Well done Paul. Thanks a lot.
PS: And you owe me two pints.
GJ: No problem.
PS: Gary Johnson, the new Peterborough United manager live on the show. Thanks for all the questions. And I’m sure we’ll talk to him again between now and the end of the season.