Gary Johnson: Cheltenham Town sack manager four games into season

Gary Johnson congratulates goal scorer Manny Duku at the final whistle after taking charge for what proved to be his final game against Macclesfield at Moss Rose
Gary Johnson congratulates goal scorer Manny Duku at the final whistle after taking charge for what proved to be his final game against Macclesfield at Moss Rose

Cheltenham Town have sacked manager Gary Johnson only four games into the new League Two season.

The club made the announcement following the 1-1 draw at Macclesfield, in which both sides picked up their first point of the campaign.

The 62-year-old ex-Cambridge United, Yeovil, Bristol City, Peterborough United and Northampton Town manager had been in charge since March 2015.

Assistant manager Russell Milton has been placed in temporary charge.

Johnson spoke to BBC Radio Gloucestershire shortly before his departure.

Asked whether he feared for his future when his side were 1-0 down - before substitute Manny Duku's 85th-minute equaliser - he said: "It's something that's not in my hands. I'm just pleased for the lads at getting a result."

Cheltenham are the second EFL side to change their manager this season, following Gary Bowyer's departure from Blackpool after one game.

A Cheltenham statement read: "It is with great regret that the board of Cheltenham Town have this evening parted company with manager Gary Johnson.

"We would like to place on record our sincere thanks for the tireless work that Gary has done on behalf of the club, work that has left the club in a stronger position than when he took over."

Johnson, who has managed non-league Kettering Town and Latvia, led Cheltenham to promotion back to the Football League in 2015-16.

That was his first full campaign in charge, having taken over the previous season with the club bottom of the league - and expected to go down.

Cheltenham finished 17th in League Two last season, five points clear of the relegation zone.

Analysis - 'fans' discontent has been growing'

BBC Radio Gloucestershire sports editor Paul Furley:

It seems strange for Cheltenham to sack Gary Johnson less than an hour after the club scored its first league goal and picked up its first point of the season, especially having backed him after Saturday's defeat at home to Carlisle United.

However, discontent among supporters has been growing for some time, with the lack of an obvious replacement for forward Mo Eisa being found and the failed attempt to sign Danny Rowe from Fylde only adding to the situation.

The lack of goals in their opening three league games seemed to quickly erase any pre-season optimism from supporters who didn't see Kalvin Kalala, Manny Duku and Liam McAlinden as adequate replacements for Eisa, Danny Wright, Brian Graham and Sanmi Odelusi.

By making a change now, Cheltenham's directors will hope to get a new manager in who can bring in the reinforcements on loan before the end of the month that the fans want and the team need.

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