Barnsley have appointed a replacement for the sacked Danny Wilson, but instead of being called the Reds’ new manager, 33-year-old Lee Johnson will be known as Head Coach.
The Oakwell Club and Oldham Athletic have agreed an undisclosed compensation package and Johnson was unveiled by Barnsley this afternoon.
He had watched his new charges secure a 1-0 away win at Scunthorpe on Tuesday night – and will be Barnsley Head Coach when they face Oldham on Saturday, March 14, a fixture that now takes on a ‘tasty’ aspect!
After introducing Johnson to the press, the Oakwell outfit released a statement which read: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Lee Johnson as Head Coach with immediate effect and under a contract until 30 June 2018.
“Lee was a midfield player, primarily with Yeovil and Bristol City and he joins the Reds from Oldham Athletic where he was first team manager. He will bring with him Tommy Wright as his Assistant Head Coach.
“In the interests of openness, the Board feels that it is appropriate to set out to fans the approach taken in the recruitment of our new Head Coach.
“It was stated at the outset that Mark Burton would act only in a caretaker capacity. Mark is extremely important to our Club in his role in the Academy as guardian of our youth policy, player evaluation and playing philosophy. The fact that seven Academy graduates have made their debuts so far this season is testament to the work Mark is doing in the Academy.
“The Club received a large number of applicants for the post. Other prospective candidates were approached. Some of those that appeared popular in the eyes of the supporters qualified themselves out from consideration by seeking higher ranked coaching opportunities. Money was never an issue.
“From the outset the Board determined that it was seeking young candidates with strong coaching credentials and astute tactical awareness.
“A clear and attractive football philosophy and a viable plan to implement that philosophy was also sought. The Board also gave some credit for a knowledge of our Club’s current playing contingent, the teams in our division and proven ability to recruit players with development potential.
“A small number of candidates were interviewed and Lee Johnson was selected as significantly the best of these. He met the selection criteria established and also produced a specific plan for Barnsley Football Club for his first 100 days in charge. This included a playing strategy, specific tactics, identified current weaknesses and credible recruitment targets to strengthen our team.
“The Board believes that everyone will like Lee’s personality. He is honest, passionate and a good communicator. Lee believes strongly in fan engagement. He is ambitious and has a clear vision for the development of our Club going forward. Let’s give him our full support!”
Johnson had initially signed a two-year deal with Oldham in March 2013 and after steering them clear of relegation at the end of that campaign, he has lifted them to within two points of a League One play-off place this term, on a modest budget.
Johnson, son of former Yeovil boss Gary, became the youngest manager in the Football League at the time when he was appointed by Oldham. He is now the third youngest. Norwich manager and ex-Barnsley midfielder Alex Neil is two days younger, with Mansfield’s Adam Murray the current youngest.