Gary Johnson’s Farewell Interview

17:08 Tuesday 11th January 2011 Drivetime BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
ANDY BURROWS: It is with Peterborough United that we start this afternoon. I’m Andy Burrows, here on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. And Gary Johnson, who left Peterborough United last night, has told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire that he was disappointed to have gone. Johnson had just nine months in charge at London Road. The Club has said he left after he and Chairman Darragh McAnthony could not see eye to eye on policy. I spoke to Johnson earlier, and he said that there were a few people he wanted to pay tribute to. (TAPE)
GARY JOHNSON: Yes I appreciate that. It’s nice to have the opportunity, because all this happened very very quick, last night, quite late. And I’m getting some nice texts from the players, felling sorry for me. You musn’t feel sorry for anybody in football, you’ve got to get on with your career. But they’re the main lads. We’ve worked very hard this year. We’ve been up and down. We’ve got through a few things. And I’ve been very proud of our lads over the season. Half of them were in the relegation mode when I came, and we had to work very hard to change the mental state, if you like. And they’ve all done that well. They are challenging. We have tonight’s game to get ourselves back up in the third or fourth place with a game in hand on a couple. So they were all buzzing a little bit, and I want to say thanks to them. because they have worked hard, and we’ve had a good relationship. Of course the fans as well. I always appreciate the fans genuinely. They travel away, all the fans. I know they were there in their thousands, but not in their millions, but the ones that turn up gave us great support, and I appreciate that. I think there was a bit of an affinity with myself and the fans, and I had some lovely letters over the year etcetera. Probably ten good ones, to one bad one, maybe more than that. So they’re the people you really want to thank during the time at Peterborough. And people have been quite kind. There are some nice people at Peterborough, and you’re sorry always to leave them. But thanks for giving me the opportunity.
ANDY BURROWS: I know you can’t say too much Gary, but it does sound like it was a shock to you, this departure.
GARY JOHNSON: Well yes, the timing of it definitely. But in the end, when the other side puts their view, and then you then talk, and you find out why, and then you realise that actually as you’ve said, we’re not seeing eye to eye sort of thing. So at that point the Chairman and the Club have to make a decision. And that’s what happened. But it was borne about over a couple of meetings about policy, if you like, and the future. And I genuinely wish well to everybody at the Club for the future. I do. There’s a lot of people there that deserve to be promoted, and better themselves. But it was just a bit sad that I couldn’t be a part of that, of course.
ANDY BURROWS: Are you able to explain at all what not seeing eye to eye on policy means?
GARY JOHNSON: Not really no. It’s best that it’s kept to that sort of statement. I think to be honest there’s nothing more other than individual circumstances and situations that you need to add to that. Not seeing eye to eye is like a marriage that ends in divorce. You don’t see eye to eye with your wife so you divorce her sort of thing you know what I mean. And that’s really what heppened here, and I think that does say it all.
ANDY BURROWS: What are you going to do next Gary Johnson?
GARY JOHNSON: I don’t know yet. My wife’s already booked me a holiday, so she don’t want me to do anything. I’d love to have been at the game tonight really, even just as a fan cheering the lads on. because I do think it’s a key game tonight. But that wasn’t to be, so I’ll just have to wait and see really, wait and see what crops up. But as I say, meanwhile I think the wife’s already at the travel agents, booking a holiday.
ANDY BURROWS: (LAUGHS) She’ll keep you grounded won’t she?
GARY JOHNSON: Yes that’s right.
ANDY BURROWS: And do you know who your successor will be?
GARY JOHNSON: No. I haven’t got a clue. They certainly don’t tell the outgoing manager who the incoming manager is. I’ve heard the rumours like everybody else, and .. All I can say is whoever takes it on, they’ve got a very very good intelligent group of footballers that will give them everything. So there’s not a lot of .. there’s fine tuning to be done, but not a major overhaul, that’s for sure. And the lads will give the next manager everything, because that’s their personality.
ANDY BURROWS: If you’d been there come May, where would Posh have finished, do you think?
GARY JOHNSON: Well we would have definitely been in the top six. And I know that’s easy for me to say that now. Of course the Chairman’s ambitions were a little bit higher than that, quite early. But it was a big thing to pick the morale up from a relegation season. And getting people like Aaron McLean back to his best, and getting Joe through. I think he’s been magnificent recently, and yet at the start of the season he was poor. But he worked hard, and Barry Richardson done a great job with him, and he came through, and you’ve got to have a little bit of patience sometimes. And the players do come through. And because they’re a new team, and quite a young team, they would have been better in the second half of the season. I was hoping to bring in a couple more defenders to add to the squad, but obviously that sort of not going to happen now. But we can all talk about that, we all talk a good game. But you asked me the question, so we would have .. I think we would have had a strong second half to the season.
ANDY BURROWS: And Darragh McAnthony, how was he with you, when you said goodbye?
GARY JOHNSON: Well, it was Barry Fry that spoke to me yesterday. And funnily enough, five minutes ago, the Chairman called me for the first time, and said sorry it didn’t work out. Good luck. And maybe our paths will cross in the future or something. But I never leave anywhere and .. you mustn’t say any bad things about anybody, and I haven’t. And I wish them all well, because they were my employers, and I did my best for them. But for whatever reason the decision was made between the two parties eventually.
ANDY BURROWS: So just to clarify, you left the Club after a conversation with Barry Fry, not Darragh McAnthony?
GARY JOHNSON: No. It was a conversation, I think it was Darragh McAnthony that asked Barry to speak to me.
ANDY BURROWS: About the future, and about policy?
GARY JOHNSON: No. About that we don’t think it’s working. But I’d already spoke to the Chairman previously about policy in the weeks leading up to this, and it certainly looked like it wasn’t going in the same direction.
ANDY BURROWS: And just finally, are you aware that Joe Lewis has handed in a transfer request?
GARY JOHNSON: No. No I’m not.
ANDY BURROWS: The Club have confirmed that this afternoon.
GARY JOHNSON: Well that’s a shame, because he’s .. you don’t want that to start happening with people being disappointed, and the lads need to be totally focused at the minute. But anyway, as we were just talking about how well he’s playing and everything, so people make their own choices, and decide what they want to do, so obviously I haven’t had any influence on that at all, and it’s shook me that he wants to do that, but anyway, if he’s done it, maybe .. He sent me a nice text earlier, just to say good luck, thanks for evrrything you did. So I’m sure he’ll end up a Premier League player, but sometimes you can end up being there without upsetting the apple-cart , as it were. But he’s a strong lad. He’s a good lad. And he looks older than he is, and hopefully he’s made for himself the right decision. (LIVE)
ANDY BURROWS: That was the former Peterborough United manager Gary Johnson, who left the Club last night, speaking to me about two hours ago. A lot has changed in that last two hours, because the Club have now confirmed that they’re speaking to Darren Ferguson. Former manager Darren Ferguson has held talks with Peterborough United about the possibility of returning as manager.