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Page last updated at 11:50 GMT, Thursday, 18 March 2010

Boss Gary Johnson leaves Bristol City by mutual consent


Lansdown plays down bust-up

Bristol City manager Gary Johnson has left his position at the Championship club by mutual consent.

Assistant manager Keith Millen will take temporary charge at Ashton Gate.

"I'm obviously disappointed to be leaving but we felt it was right that I look for a new challenge," Johnson told BBC Radio Bristol.

"[Chairman] Stephen Lansdown and I always said when we both felt the time was right for a fresh face we would both know that time."

Johnson continued: "You know when people stop laughing at your jokes it's time to leave.

"It's been a difficult couple of months and we've all been under pressure to try and sustain a challenge in what is a very, very difficult league.

"A lot of these lads have worked very hard to get this club to be a comfortable Championship club and I don't feel that people were giving them enough credit for that."

Lansdown had played down reports the decision was partly because of an alleged dressing room bust-up at half-time during the 3-2 defeat by Plymouth on Tuesday.

He told BBC Points West: "Footballers will tell you [dressing rooms] can be fairly violent places at times. Tempers get frayed as people express their opinions and managers try to get their players geed up.

"As far as I'm aware that's all that happened. That's nothing to do with the decision taken today and is forgotten about."


Johnson, 54, arrived at Ashton Gate in September 2005 having enjoyed unprecedented success with Yeovil Town.

In four years he led the Glovers from the Football Conference to League One as well as FA Trophy success.

The former Latvia manager then took City up to the Championship in his first full season in charge having finished second in the promotion race.

Bristol City's success continued as his side were just 90 minutes away from Premier League football before losing out to Hull in the 2008 play-off final at Wembley.

2006: League One 9th
2007: League One 2nd
2008: Championship 4th
2009: Championship 10th
2010: Championship 15th

Since them Johnson has struggled to match his early success with the club finishing in 10th place last season, 13 points off the play-off spots.

City now find themselves 15th in the Championship just seven points off the relegation zone having won just two of their last 12 games.

Millen is in the hot seat for Saturday's visit of league leaders Newcastle as the search for a new permanent boss starts.

Johnson himself is already on the look out for a new job.

"You're open to offers, which is why I'm suited and booted and I am looking forward to the next challenge," he said.

"If something comes up you've got to be available for it if it's something you want to do."

Plymouth 3-2 Bristol City

Johnson's last game in charge

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