Johnson at fault for Yeovil’s struggles?

Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson did an excellent job for Yeovil 2 years ago, guiding them to promotion to the Championship against the odds. His side were relegated last season, perhaps predictably, yet Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at home to Fleetwood has seen them drop to bottom of League One.

Johnson has tended to use the club’s lack of funds as a reason for poor results, yet this seems like an excuse. The Yeovil board have given him the club’s biggest ever League One budget, and he has signed a number of players on high wages this summer.

Added to that, Yeovil have not lost more first team players than other clubs coming down from League One. Their defence has been dismantled, with notably Shane Duffy’s loan from Everton coming to an end, yet one would argue that a back-line which conceded 75 goals in a season needed changing.

Yeovil dropped 28 points from winning positions in the Championship last season, which suggests that the squad they had was at least competitive at that level. This blog did not expect Yeovil to be competing for promotion, yet after a season in the Championship, the standards had been raised. To be sitting bottom of the table at this stage represents significant underachievement.

The Glovers played well in the match against Fleetwood, according to reports. They were solid, passed the ball around well and created a high number of chances. However, they were not able to convert chances into goals, and this has been a problem of late, meaning a total of just 3 goals in 9.

In the wake of the match, Johnson publicly criticized on loan Manchester City striker Jordy Hiwula, who had missed a lot of the team’s chances. This seems a poor way to handle a young player, even if Hiwula has only scored 1 goal in 7 games since joining. A more astute way to deal with that situation would have been to offer some credit to him for making runs to get into the right positions in that match. If he was not scoring goals due to a lazy attitude, then a harsh approach may have been the best way forward. However, it seems the main reason is a lack of confidence, and that is unlikely to be re-instilled by public criticism.

The way Johnson has handled this situation, and other ones over the last year or so, carries the faint whiff of a manager looking to find somebody to blame. Yeovil have tough games coming up against Notts County, Preston and Oldham, and if they lose those, then Gary Johnson’s position at the club make come under intense scrutiny.