Barnsley: Reds ‘disappointed’ over Johnson exit

Ben Mansford
Ben Mansford
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Reds chief executive Ben Mansford has revealed he was “disappointed” former manager Lee Johnson decided to leave the club.

Barnsley are currently searching for their ninth permanent boss in the last 10 years – and that’s not counting the three caretaker bosses who have had to steady the ship in recent times.

“Personally I’m a little bit disappointed [he wanted to leave] – and I articulated that to Lee,” admitted Mansford.

“I think anyone that has seen me, [club owner] Patrick [Cryne] and Lee at fans’ forum events and out and about, then they’d have seen we worked well together as a three.

“So personally I was disappointed, but Barnsley Football Club has been around nearly 130 years now and it will survive well beyond people like Lee Johnson and myself.

“Loyalty is something I don’t want to specifically comment on, but we had a good working relationship with Lee. We identified him as a bright young coach and the right person to guide the club in the direction we wanted to go. We picked the right person.”

Yorkshire neighbours Rotherham United sacked Neil Redfearn as their manager on Monday, with the former Barnsley favourite immediately linked as Johnson’s successor.

But Mansford was quick to play down a rush to find a replacement to fill the vacant Oakwell hotseat.

“We’re not in any rush to find a replacement,” stressed Mansford. “We’ve got two people [Paul Heckingbottom and Tommy Wright] in place who are very competent and in Paul we’ve got somebody who is Barnsley through and through.

“We’re very confident that they will continue to succeed for the football club for the forseeable future. Absolute credit must go the staff and the players for getting a great result against Bury considering the circumstances.

“We issued a statement really early to let the fans know that there was interest for Lee from Bristol City and I think we knew it was going to be challenging to keep him. We would have been delighted if Lee had stayed.”