For our 'rock' as much as anybody, everything is crossed for promotion

Father and son... Lee Johnson, then manager of Bristol City, shakes his dad Gary Johnson's hand

Father and son... Lee Johnson, then manager of Bristol City, shakes his dad Gary Johnson's hand during the match between Weston-super-Mare and Torquay United in 2018 - Credit: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

I'd think hard about saying this in public, especially with her in the room, because she'd be embarrassed.  But the real hero - or I should say 'heroine' - of the Johnson family is Mrs Caron Johnson.

How she's put up with me, one football-obsessed manager, for all these years, I'll never know.

But she's now got two of us trying to win promotion at the same time, and that's the first time it's happened since our son Lee first became a manager at Oldham Athletic eight years ago.

She worries about both of us in equal measure, and she obviously wants us both to do well.

Caron has enjoyed the successes of my promotions over the years, and she was so happy when Lee lifted his first cup as a manager when Sunderland won the EFL Trophy a few weeks ago.

But Lee and I have never both been in this league position before.

When I was at Yeovil and Lee was at Oldham, we 'played' each other twice (the score is 1-1 at the moment!).

Most Read

Caron - she likes football and coming to football - made sure that she had a seat as near to the halfway line as possible, so no one would think she was supporting one of us more than the other!

She's always been the 'rock' to both of us. How she does cope, I don't know, because over the years Lee and I have finished match days in every mood you can imagine, and all completely out of her control.

But I think she's learned to get through it in her own way, and it's a wonder how she's managed to do it.

It would be great if either Torquay or Sunderland could be promoted this season, but I know the 'dream' for Caron would be both of us to go up.

For her as much as anybody, everything crossed…!

Meanwhile, there seems no end to a much less happy side of the game at the moment - and that's the abuse that some players seem to be getting on social media.

It's a huge subject, of course, and it's a society thing, not just football.

We used to think it was out of order when normal criticism went 'over the top', and we still do, but the racist stuff doing the rounds these days is on another level.

I've never touched Twitter, although I do look at fans' forums occasionally, just to hear what people are saying.

I know Lee gets involved in Twitter, and I've asked him a few times 'Why do you put yourself through it?'  But that's probably a generation thing.

People have always had their opinions - good, bad and in between - and it can still hurt if you read it.

But a lot of footballers are almost addicted to social media now, and it leads to real problems.

I've had players come to me worrying that somebody has said this or that, especially if it's just not true, and I've known it affect their game.

But over and above that, you should never be able to abuse someone racially.

You can't do it in the street, so why should you be able to do it online?

I believe you've got to be accountable for what you put on social media, and the 'rules' definitely need tightening up.

It's up to the companies to be a lot stricter on anything untoward, and to take that stuff down quicker.

It should all be traceable, and if the people who go in for this sort of thing know that they could have a policeman knocking on their door, they'll think harder about doing it.

I think everyone knows what should be happening.  It's up to the powers-that-be to make it happen.

Keep staying safe everyone…