‘I want to leave a legacy’: Lee Johnson outlines plans for Oldham Athletic, but admits surprise at immediate success

By Matthew Lees

Having won over the Oldham Athletic fans by keeping them in League One, manager Lee Johnson has taken advantage of a fans’ forum to outline his plans.

Johnson answered questions from BBC Radio Manchester reporter John Gilder and Latics’ supporters at the Trust Oldham event at Shaw’s Playhouse 2.

After Oldham shocked the sporting world by appointing the Football League’s youngest manager in an effort to survive, the 31-year-old admitted he was surprised himself.

“I couldn’t believe I got the job as it was a great opportunity at such a good club,” said Johnson.

“Actually I saw Paul Dickov on the Monday with a view to looking to get into coaching and then he lost his job on the Sunday.

“I used the six live games before I was appointed as a project mainly for myself.

“I could’ve been a lower league journeyman and played on for five or six years but I had achieved all I had wanted in playing – playing in the Premier League apart.”

Despite holding an UEFA A Licence and aiming to complete his Pro Licence – the highest management qualification – Johnson has been shocked by his success so far.

“It’s gone better than expected,” he added.

“The fans have been fantastic and It’s testament to all the staff how I was welcomed so I thank everyone for that.

“It was such a left-field appointment in a dire situation but I want to leave a legacy whatever happens.”

With Athletic now safe, Johnson is looking for ways to strengthen his squad including an experienced assistant to relieve the pressure on Tony Philliskirk.

“We have to do the best we can with the resources we’ve got and punch above our weight,” said the 31-year-old.

“Mentally we go down like a load of dominos which worries me so we have to sign players that can be motivated.

“I would like a mix of new signings and a link to the community.

“We know we’ve got to upgrade the squad but I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of five or six of the young lads.”

He plans to go to Turkey to watch this summer’s 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, and he hopes to organise a pre-season tour too.

“I would like to go to Riga as it is a good chance to form links,” he said after revealing he was previously offered the Latvia U-21 job.

“We have quite a few options though and we will try to get it sorted as soon as possible but it’s down to the budget.”

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