Gary Johnson: Christian's story strikes a personal note with me

Torbay Weekly

I don't know many managers who actually enjoy the build-up to the January transfer 'deadline day', even when a lot of hard work actually pays off with a deal that you're really pleased to do.

But one move a long way from Plainmoor did cheer me up this week.

Christian Eriksen's signing for Brentford struck me as fantastic news.

Most of us remember what happened to him at last summer's Euro finals.

He suffered a cardiac arrest in Denmark's game against Finland, and I don't think many people thought he would be back from such a major issue any time soon.

After seven great years with Spurs, he'd just won the Serie A championship with Inter Milan but he'd been fitted with an ICD - that's a type of advanced heart pacemaker - and they're not allowed in Italy's top league.

So his contract with Inter had to be cancelled.

He took himself back to Denmark to start training on his own and, by all accounts, he's got himself fit enough for Brentford to give him a chance on an initial six-month deal.

I don't suppose they'd have done that if they weren't happy with his condition now.

I admit that Christian's story strikes a personal note with me, because I've sort of been there and done it myself.

When I had to undergo surgery five years ago after heart problems, it turned out to be because of a hereditary issue.

But I came through it, and there's lots of people in everyday life who are having similar problems and also getting over them.

Christian Eriksen has obviously made a full recovery, and I think it's brilliant, not just for him, but for everyone else who can relate to what he's been through, that Brentford have signed him.

It's a great coup for them, and I wish him every success in getting him back to full match fitness and playing like we all know he can.

One 'move' that hasn't happened over the past week or so is Andy Woodman leaving Bromley in our National League and joining Gillingham of League One.

A lot of managers would have taken that chance, although Gillingham are struggling and Bromley are going for promotion to League Two.

But the old grass isn't always greener, as they say.

However, it is just another sign that the National League is being seen more and more as on a par with the EFL and especially League Two.

The level of spending in our division, the size of the clubs and the gates have really got people talking nationally about the need to close the gap with the EFL.

As we've all seen, there are now players who are seeing the National League as a money-spinning move away from the EFL, and we'll bump into a few of them when we play Wrexham at Plainmoor on Saturday.

I'd like to think I've played a part in that debate, it's well overdue for the gap to be closed, with at least one more promotion place included, and I do believe that it's going to happen.

Now would be a good time.

Finally, you might be wondering how the Johnson family has reacted this week to the news that my son Lee and Sunderland have parted company.

It came after that 6-0 defeat at Bolton Wanderers last Saturday but Sunderland were joint-top before that match and they are still in third place.

Enough to say that, right or wrong, these things happen in football, it's happened to most of us and you always have to be respectful to the club that you're leaving.

We try to deal with it as professional people.

I'm sure Lee will be back when he's ready and the right job comes along.

It hardly needs saying that Wrexham this weekend is a very important game for us.

I thought our fans were brilliant against Solihull Moors last week, and we'll be pulling all the stops out to give them the result we couldn't quite manage then...

Sport