Former Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson has given his views on the sequence of events that have materialised today, following the decision to part company with first team manager Paul Sturrock. Johnson had been in charge of the Glovers at the start of 2015, but is now with Conference National side Cheltenham Town, who currently stand just one place below the Glovers in the football pyramid at the top of that league. Since Johnson left the club, he has seen Yeovil go through two more managerial changes whilst they have dropped to the foot of League Two, which has provoked today's change.
Johnson was fairly guarded about what he said at the time he left Huish Park in February, preferring to concentrate upon the circumstances of the day and the club's position in League One. However, with ten months having passed and two managers now having gone through the revolving door, he has felt more prepared to give his views of how the club's inner workings changed. Speaking to BBC Somerset he said he felt that some of the priorities of the club had shifted onto the Food Store and Retail Park development applications that have been running over the past four-and-a-half years, and particularly during the last three seasons. He said he felt the club was taking its eye off its main core business, in concentrating on the longer term plans:
"A club has got to be very wary that it doesn't let its standards drop. If that starts dropping, then a club has only got one way to go. I'll be honest with you, towards the end I just felt that a lot of time, energy and money was put into this development saga, and probably not enough sufficient funds to keep the team competitive. That's what happened at the end. I think it took our eye off the ball. I think certain members of the board were in desperate need for this development to go ahead, for the influx of money. Nobody was putting in money themselves, so it needed to come from somewhere else. When that was needed, it wasn't there because it was going into something else."
Despite that critical view, Johnson was defensive of Chairman John Fry, believing that his position as a front man at the football club made him a target for other peoples decisions. He felt his own decision-making with Mr Fry had been a simpler one during his earlier days with the club, when there was more of a hands-off direction from the Board that allowed Johnson and Fry to deal with the football matters between them. He felt that the more recent boardroom dynamics meant that Fry was taking stick decisions made by other people:
"I wouldn't be calling for John Fry to step down, because he's another one who is more of a front man, and therefore takes a little bit more stick than maybe he deserves. I got along very well with John, and when it was me and him making the decisions between us, and then going to the rest of the board and telling them this was the decision that we'd made, then it was a lot easier. But there seem to be a very more making decisions now, and so I wouldn't put it all on John Fry. It will be a bit sad if people do quarter him because I think he does work very very hard in what he does, but he probably needs to take a few more football decisions now, than he's doing at the moment, because he's bogged down with the development saga. Be careful because when John Fry takes all the stick, he doesn't deserve all of it, that's for sure."
Johnson felt that the Glovers needed new blood to come in and rejuvenate the club. He questioned whether all parties involved in the Yeovil Town set-up were contributing in the way that they should be, and that the club needed a fresh influx of funds to help it turn the corner:
"I think it would take some investment. I think that's for sure that it needs new people to come in and look after it. I think that it needs a new ambition and a new personality again, where it is looking to push on again and not to end up back where it came from twelve years ago, as that would be a shame. I think everyone has got to look at themselves and see whether they're doing enough of a job to keep a club competitive. That's what it is. If they can't, then they should move on - but if they can, then great - help out. The club doesn't deserve to be back where it started twelve years ago. Paul (Sturrock) has obviously tried pulling rabbits out of hats and it's not worked, and unfortunately they find themselves at the bottom of the table. But I wish the club well and I only ever wish the club well because they have great supporters and I had some wonderful times there."
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