Johnson’s departure is a big shame for Portchester

Steve Johnson, right, with Graham Rix. Picture: Neil Marshall
Steve Johnson, right, with Graham Rix. Picture: Neil Marshall
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AFC PORTCHESTER chairman Paul Kelly admits he is disappointed to see assistant manager Steve Johnson exit the club.

Johnson quit the Royals earlier this week due to his increasing work commitments.

It will be a significant loss for manager Graham Rix.

Kelly tried to get Johnson to change his mind but to no avail and recognises he will be a big miss.

‘I spent an hour and a half with Jonno trying to get him to change his mind,’ said Kelly.

‘He is an experienced coach who has been with us for three years and will be a massive loss.

‘I have always maintained that with (boss) Graham Rix and him we had the best management team in the area.

‘Jonno explained his work with the Royal Navy FA and on the FA Council was becoming more time consuming.

‘As a concession he asked for us to keep the door open maybe for him to return as a number three in the summer.

‘He reckoned he could no longer consider being a number two with all the work that entailed.

‘It is a shame because we will miss his determination, commitment and 100-per-cent belief in the players he was coaching.’

The Royals are looking to get back to winning ways at Bournemouth Poppies in the Wessex League premier division tomorrow after suffering four consecutive defeats.

League defeats against Portland, Sholing and Alresford have virtually ended the Royals promotion hopes for another season.

They lie fifth in the league but are 13 points adrift of second-placed Blackfield.

It will take more than a minor miracle for Rix’s side to close that gap now.

The team suffered another dent to their confidence in midweek, losing 5-0 against the Hawks in the Portsmouth Senior Cup.

Kelly accepts that it has been a thoroughly frustrating campaign.

They will be working hard to ensure better times are ahead.

‘Our ambitions remain the same and that is to get promoted,’ he added.

‘I accept that chance has almost certainly gone for this season.

‘It is difficult to put a finger on why, though injuries and suspensions have not helped.

‘Some of the players need to take a good look at themselves because our discipline has been appalling at times.

‘A lot of it has been down to the frustration of not getting the results that players felt they deserved.

‘As a result we have had to do without influential players at key times.

‘You cannot afford to do that if you want to get promoted.

‘The other problem is that we have not been scoring enough goals.

‘We have dominated games and ended up getting beaten because of it.

‘Everything is in place for us to move up to the next level.

‘We will have to look at who wants to stay and give it another go.’

AFC Portchester: Scott, Warren, Cain, Evans, Stone, Ramsey, Bye, Edwards, Easter, Baldacchino, Sweeney, Mason, Quirke, Tuppen