Gary Johnson: Whatever I may say, I'm a very bad loser

Torbay Weekly

When you've lost an away game, especially the way we did at Barnet last weekend, the coach trip home can seem even longer than the one up there.

And we're all very aware that our supporters have travelled just as far as we have, if not further.

Almost the worst part of a defeat like that one is seeing and hearing those amazing fans, well over 400 of them, I'm told, and not being able to give them something to celebrate.

But one thing those journeys home does is give you a chance to get some stuff off your chest, with your staff and the players, deal with some of the disappointment and start looking ahead to the next training session and the next match.

I say only 'some', because whatever I may say or whatever brave a face I try to put on after a game, I'm a very bad loser.

In fact, it's a close run thing in the Johnson family whether me or my son Lee is worse on that score.

The disappointment doesn't get out of my system until Monday morning when you start training again.  And often not even then.

Which brings me to the lady who's been waiting at home all these years for me, and Lee before he left home, to walk through the door on a Saturday night or the small hours of the morning.

In the early days I brought the job home, without a shadow of doubt.

I still bring it home now in these later years, but I have learned to keep it more within myself.

The one thing you've got to have is an understanding wife or mother.

And, make no mistake, all our family know how lucky we are on that score.

When I walk through the door, my wife Caron won't say 'How did the game go?' when we've lost 3-0.

But you have to learn not to put disappointments on your family, and make them worry or get upset. Otherwise they're going to dread you coming home.

Caron doesn't come to every game, especially away from home, but she does like football and over the years she's had the pain and the pleasure of more than 1,000 games with me and Lee.

One thing she can do much better than all the rest of us is sing.

She's got a great voice - she's produced her own CDs - and she's never needed much persuading to get up and sing a song at a do to celebrate promotion or a championship over the years.

Fingers-crossed she gets a chance to do it again at Torquay United before too long.

The important thing is that there is always another day.

Football has always been such a big part of my life, but I was lucky enough to be a bit of an all-round sportsman back in the day.

I loved table tennis and judo - I once won a schools bout at the Royal Albert Hall when I was under-16 - and the best part of going to holiday camps with the family in the summer, at places like Caister near Great Yarmouth and Seaton down here, was signing up for all the sports teams.

I don't remember building too many sand castles, that's for sure.

But my second sporting love is cricket really.

When I was a kid at Watford, one of my teammates was Mike Gatting - he was a dumpy little right-back and I was a skinny little midfielder.

At the same time as playing for Watford in the winter, we played cricket for Middlesex in the summer.  I opened the batting for the London Schools side at the time.

But when I got an apprenticeship at Watford, football took over my life.

Mike, of course, went on to a fantastic career as Middlesex and England captain.

To this day, sit me down in front of the telly when there's a big One-Day game or a T20 match on, and I take some shifting!

Once again, thanks to all those fans at Barnet, and also to the real 'thick-and-thin' supporters who made it to Aldershot on Tuesday night.

They, more than anyone, will deserve any success that our club can get.