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Turbulent reign at Wessex

by: theterras

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STEVE Johnson’s reign at the Wessex Stadium may have been a brief one but he certainly left his mark on the club, writes Paul Baker

The sacked Terras boss completed a mammoth 36 deals since his appointment 126 days ago.

Johnson was a surprise choice for the Weymouth hot-seat following the dismissal of Steve Claridge after the Terras FA Cup exit at minnows Thame United in October.

A virtual unknown outside the Home Counties, he got the job ahead of a string of big name rivals including Shaun Teale, Jimmy Quinn and Frank Gregan.

But the Wessex Stadium directors were impressed by his CV, which featured coaching and management spells at Lewes, Arundel and at international youth level with Latvia.

The fact that brother Gary manages Yeovil Town also helped his case, as did his unquestioned passion and enthusiasm.

Johnson quickly set about stamping his authority at Radipole Lane and won the fans over immediately with his first signing, popular striker Kirk Jackson.

He was also tasked with unloading Weymouth’s big earners and it wasn’t long before names such as Nathan Bunce, Chukki Eribenne, Lee Charles, Paul Gibbs and Shaun Wilkinson were no longer appearing on the team sheet.

Results were impressive to begin with but cracks soon started to appear off the Park.

Skipper Paul Buckle was released after a high profile fall out with the manager and later fans’ favourites SteveTully and Lee Phillips were also off-loaded on free transfers following disagreements with the boss.

The good early form then disappeared and the first signs of the Terras promotion push coming off the rails came with a 4-1 Boxing Day thrashing at Dorchester Town.

Ironically Matt Groves bagged a hattrick for the Magpies, just days after Johnson had told a Weymouth fans’ forum that the ex-Pompey youngster was ‘not good enough to get in the Terras team.’

Despite players continuing to come and go at a rapid rate, victories have been scarce since that Avenue Stadium mauling with the last league success coming at Basingstoke in January.

And even turning full-time, which Weymouth did a month ago, made no difference with the point collected against Lewes a fortnight ago being the Terras only return from their last five outings.

The final straw came at Havant on Saturday where the Dorset club went down 1-0 to the Hawks in what proved to be Johnson’s final game in charge.

And maybe he knew the writing was on the wall after declining to speak to Echosport’s Terras reporter Matt Pitman after the game and instead putting up assistant Gary Borthwick for the post match interview.

Gone he maybe, but the fast-talking Cockney will not be forgotten in a hurry, that’s for certain.

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