Ciderspace News Page : A Chairman Makes History?
28 March 2003 : A Chairman Makes History?
The usual scenario when a football chairman lavishes praise on his club's manager is that speculation is immediate as to who the next manager will be - the dreaded vote of confidence strikes. However on this occasion we at Ciderspace reckon Gary Johnson's job may be safe for a few games yet!
John Fry has seen six managers in his time as Yeovil's chairman since 1996, but Gary is the man, he asserts in a wide ranging interview in the Western Gazette.

It takes a few years to get things moving towards where you want them to go and Gary is doing the job in the right way. He has to be the closest match that we have had to the ideal way that we want the job to be done. The chemistry is right between all the factions within the club and the results are looking good from the level of the crowds to our position in the league.

Gary has needed time to work with his squad - it does take three or four years to build a championship-winning side. I feel that if we do get in to the League then the club will fare a lot better because you have got the better facilities. We have got the right people running the club, managing the club and playing for the club - and a lot of that is down to the current manager.
Gary is not inexperienced but he is not someone who is in the twilight of his managerial career either. He is at the right age and the job came at the right time for him and the club. He has got the right critera - we wanted a person who could work with a young team and his experience as an academy manager at Watford showed us he was more than capable.

He is a qualified coach, he has got contacts and he knows about the game on the world stage. His preparation is perfection, he makes everyone feel involved and he is always available to help people. He also likes to play football in an entertaining way.


The chairman also cautiously looked ahead to next season, though careful to avoid giving the impression anything is being taken for granted.

The crowds are fantastic and the players feed off that on the pitch. If we go up I am sure that the crowds will increase. The thing we have got to do next season is change the crash barriers at the away end. But the problem we have is that if we get into the League and cover it, we also have to make it an all-seater. We have not got any plans to develop that end yet.
We get a lot of fans coming in now from the surrounding areas like Bournemouth, not only to see the good football that we play but to also witness the great atmosphere that is produced in the Westland Stand. The steel at the back and the design of it catches all the sound and it really does create a fantastic feeling all around the ground. Anyone who has not stood in it during a match ought to because it is fantastic.

If we do go up it would obviously be nice if teams such as Bristol Rovers, Exeter City and Torquay United stay in the League because it would mean some big local games which would not only be entertaining but also provide good revenue. If that happens then we might have 50 per cent of our matches all-ticket, especially if the likes of Cheltenham Town and AFC Bournemouth also end up in Division Three. That may be the point when we look at ways to accommodate all our fans.

Adjustments in ticket prices will have to be made if we go up - that is only natural. Most clubs in the League are now beginning to work to a performance - related capping or restriction based on turnover. That will be mandatory from the start of the 2003-4 season.

For the Football League and Football Foundation to help struggling clubs we will all have to follow certain criteria because what they are worried about is that some of these clubs are out of their depth. However, the fact of the matter is that you cannot make huge changes jumping from one league to another because people will not pay them.

The quality of the entertainment has an impact but the directors will very shortly put forward adjustments to the prices throughout the club, that is whether we are in the Conference or in Division Three. The fact of life is that matchday costs will go up.

In the League the cost of policing will go up because half of the games will require their presence. We will also need more stewards and things like that have to be paid for. Whether that comes from gate receipts or other means is something the board has to discuss.

The club has to balance its books. A big investment has been made by the major shareholder (Jon Goddard-Watts) and we have got to get financial viability. Our main mission is to get into the Football League - once that is achieved then the next step will be to stay there and get financial viability.

If we do not get financial viability then we will end up going out of business whatever happens. Figures are being worked out at the moment to see what our budget will be in the Conference, if we stay there, and in Division Three because anything can happen in football. We need to take the worst possible scenario and get a contingency plan ready.







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