Gary Johnson, manager of Torquay United:
However good you are, a week without a job in football feels like a month, because you feel like you should be working. I guess that’s the same for anybody who finds themselves out of work.
My son Lee is going through that at the moment after leaving Bristol City.
It’s the first time it’s happened to him in that way - unlike his dad, who’s had to handle it a couple of times over the past 30 odd years in management!
People naturally think that someone like me, with all my experience, would be able to come up with just the right help, advice and ‘inside information’ to help your son in this situation. But it’s not quite like that.
Although Lee is a relatively young man at 39, he’s already an experienced manager.
He’s been at Oldham and Barnsley, moving on each time for compensation, and after four-and-a-half years at Ashton Gate, I think he was the longest-serving manager in the Championship.
He lasted, almost to the day, the same amount of time as me when I was at Bristol City a few years ago - there’s a coincidence.
Yes, Lee can take advice from people, and there’s a lot of people willing to give it. But sometimes you just have to regroup, get your mind right, decide what you want and get on with it.
The last thing I would do is tell him what to do.
His mum and I can put the parents’ side of things and, of course, we’ve done that, but Lee has got a lot of good friends in the game, his representatives are working for him and he’s quite comfortable with the situation.
It’s always disappointing to leave a club, especially after so long.
Almost five years somewhere is a long stint, and it’s very difficult to keep, in a way, reinventing yourself for everyone.
So there can be a cut-off point to your time at a club, unless you’re an Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger, who’s winning trophies every year.
What happens is that, once you get the team to where it’s winning games on a regular basis, bigger clubs start picking off your players.
You’ve got to keep rebuilding all the time, which isn’t always easy.
What you’ve got to be proud of is that you take that club to its highest potential as you see it, before you start losing players.
I had a couple of promotions early in my career, because I took jobs which had potential in them - I didn’t take a job just for the sake of it.
Lee has done very well in giving himself a profile and a decent ‘CV’. If I was a chairman at the right type of club, and not his dad, he would be the perfect candidate. But I’m bound to say that, aren’t I?
By the way, I was asked the other day whether Lee might come down to help with some coaching during our own pre-season.
He would be welcome if he wanted to, but I don’t think he will. He had enough time working with me during his playing days!
In addition, I treat all my players like my ‘son’, so I’m pleased that two of my ‘sons’, Frank Vincent and Robbie Cundy, are moving onwards and upwards.
After two years with us from AFC Bournemouth, Frank will be on a similar long loan to Scunthorpe and Robbie (Bristol City) has joined my old club Cambridge United, both in League Two.
They are both great, talented lads, and all you hope is that they’ve gone somewhere where they’re going to play games. and not just be part of the squad.
Stay safe everyone, and speak soon...