Yeovil Town first team manager Gary Johnson decided not to show for last night's press conference, despite his side winning through to the Second Round of the League Cup. The Glovers may have beaten Colchester United by a 3-0 scoreline, but Johnson was fuming about ongoing issues he has with the quality of the Huish Park main pitch.
The Glovers boss has on a couple of occasions this summer criticised the pitch, after the club were unable to stage their opening home pre-season friendly against Plymouth Argyle, switching it to Dorchester Town's ground instead. In his place, assistant manager Terry Skiverton stepped up to talk to BBC Somerset, and he admitted that Johnson had already left the ground by the time the press conference was held:
"I think the manager has decided for me to come and do the press conference tonight. If he had come out, I think one or two hand grenades might have been thrown right into the mix of things. I don't think he wanted anything to detract away from the performance of the players tonight. But he's shot off straight from the ground, and even I had to take a step back. I don't think he's in a very good mood about something. But that will probably come out at a later date."
Skiverton was reluctant to go into specifics, in terms of what Johnson's concerns were. However, BBC Somerset have indicated that the issues related to the Huish Park pitch, and a further question from interviewer Chris Spittles relating to the pitch was not denied by Skiverton, merely agreeing that he felt it was a subject that needed to be left until another day.
Johnson's most recent comments on the pitch in last week's Western Gazette were barbed ones, suggesting that he was wanting a pitch with shorter grass on it, so his team had a better chance of playing their usual passing game, but that the club's groundsman was not carrying out his wishes:
"One day someone will listen to me and make that grass short enough so we can get that opportunity (to play passing football)."
In the July 19th edition of the Western Gazette, the club issued a statement in response to Johnson's initial criticism, saying that they supported his views. They enlisted Yeovil Town's Stadium Director Brian Willis to investigate why there were problems with both the main stadium pitch and those down at the club's Alvington training ground:
"The club shares Gary Johnson's concerns about the condition of the pitches at Huish Park and Alvington. A comprehensive review is to be undertaken of the situation by stadium director Brian Willis as soon as possible. The club has consistently maintained the view that football pitches in and around Yeovil do not meet local requirements and efforts are being made to eradicate this problem."
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