Mental Health Awareness Week: Former Sunderland manager Lee Johnson’s secrets on how he is preparing for his next role | Soccer News

For Mental Health Awareness Week, Lee Johnson speaks to Sky Sports News about the challenges he has faced since leaving Sunderland in January.

While at Sunderland, Johnson won the Papa John’s Trophy and rose to the heights of third place in Football League One.

He said Sky Sports News“I think everyone goes through different stages of mental health. But I have such a desire and such a pleasure in my training, such a love of the game, that it’s worse not to be involved.

“I used to manage like legions of 50-60 people and now I can’t even manage the remote control in the household.

“I feel very privileged to have had the honor of coaching what I consider to be an iconic club in the country, a fantastic football club with great people and a phenomenal fan base. They produce 30-40,000 in Ligue 1 on a regular basis.”

Sunderland manager Lee Johnson celebrates with the Papa John’s trophy after the 2021 final at Wembley Stadium, London.

As a player, Johnson played for several Football League clubs. Since retiring in 2013, the former midfielder has followed in his father’s footsteps and chosen management.

In nine years, Johnson managed Oldham, Barnsley, Bristol City and Sunderland. For the first time in 24 years, the former player-turned-coach had time to take a break away from the game.

“I think the key trait for managers – which is the hardest thing in the world to do – is to find that space to grow, to reflect, to look at 10,000 feet at what you’ve done well, but also to have that balance. of life .

“You don’t realize how fast you’re moving until you take a step back and walk away from it,” he said. Sky Sports News.

Although officially involved in the game for 24 years, some would say it’s been longer as professional football is in the Johnson family. His father Gary Johnson also played and managed in the Football League.

The pair share similar career paths. Both are retired midfielders turned managers who have both played and coached several Football League teams.

Johnson on the touchline with his father, Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson (right)
Oldham Athletics manager Lee Johnson on the touchline with his father Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson (right) during the npower Football League One match at Boundary Park, Oldham.

Lee Johnson played for his father during spells of his career at Yeovil Town and Bristol City – teams where he eventually became manager.

He reflected on the toll this has had on his family growing up with a father as the head coach. The shaky job security is not a feature he overlooks. Instead, he uses it to gain experience.

He said: “At the beginning of our lives and certainly in my younger years, sometimes it was like dad [Gary] gets the bag today, shall we eat?

“During his days at Cambridge United, before that, even at Newmarket Town. I think you learn to develop that resilience almost second-hand. Now you’re effectively at the front as a manager myself.”

Johnson shakes hands with his father, Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson (left)
Oldham Athletic manager Lee Johnson shakes hands with his father Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson before the npower Football League One match at Boundary Park, Oldham.

Family is always on the former Sunderland manager’s mind. Constantly reflecting on his personal experiences growing up in a football home, Lee Johnson insists on Sky Sports News the importance that his work-life balance plays on his mental health.

As a manager between jobs, Johnson understands the value of this time away from the game. He uses it to strengthen relationships with his close family and not miss important milestones in their lives.

“I think the first thing is actually investing a little bit of emotional capital in the family. You know, it takes up so much of the manager’s work. My daughter is approaching 14.

“Effectively for 15 months, you know, 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. at night and pushing hard. So the first thing is to get that balance to make sure the family has enough time.”

What does the future hold? It’s clear that Johnson wants to return to management. But that will come after a period of adaptation and a better work-life balance.

The official theme of Mental Health Awareness Week is solitude and takes place from May 9 to 15. You can get more information and help available at website.

If you are concerned about mental wellbeing issues or would like to speak up, please contact the Samaritans on the free helpline 116 123, or visit the website.

Sky Sports

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