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“This is a joke?!” – Fans stunned with Cheltenham set to appoint ex-Torquay manager as DOF

“This is a joke?!” – Fans have been left stunned with Cheltenham Town set to appoint ex-Torquay United manager Gary Johnson as DOF.

@JonPalmerSport tweeted on Thursday afternoon: “Cheltenham Town set to name Gary Johnson as their new director of football #ctfc”

Johnson looks set to return to the Robins, having previously been their manager between 2015 and 2018. Announcement is expected, with a new head coach to follow as Darrell Clarke looks set to switch to Barnsley.

Johnson’s last stint with Cheltenham saw him appointed with the club bottom of League Two, two points from a position of safety, but failed to avoid relegation. Despite this, his contract was extended until the end of the 2016–17 season and he managed to guide them to the National League title and an instant return to the EFL, the first time a relegated team had won the 5th tier since 1989 and and Johnson became only the second manager to win multiple National League titles.

In August 2018, Cheltenham Town announced they had ‘parted company’ with Johnson four games into the 2028/19 campaign and a month later, Johnson was appointed as manager of Torquay United, whom he won the National League South title with three games remaining.

In July 2019, he a new deal to extend his stay at Torquay, and oversaw their relegation from the National League in April 2023.

His time turned sour, as fans explain in the reaction (further down in the article) to the latest news of his return to Cheltenham.

In February 2024, Johnson left the club by mutual consent with them sitting 11th in the National League South.

His departure came on the same day as Torquay United owner Clark Osborne announced plans to appoint administrators.

SEE MORE: Cheltenham fans turn anger on the board after reports their manager is expected to leave

SEE MORE: Barnsley appoints ex-Salisbury, Bristol Rovers, Walsall, Port Vale, Cheltenham boss


We are delighted to announce that former Robins manager Gary Johnson has returned to the club as our new Director of Football.

Johnson’s arrival sees the club revert to adopting the Director of Football position for the first time since Micky Moore’s departure to Shrewsbury Town last May.

The 68-year-old brings his vast footballing experience to the table and comes in to oversee the football side of the operation.

Johnson led the club to the National League title and an immediate return to the Football League back in the 2015/16 season before parting company in August 2018.

He was most recently the manager of National League South side Torquay United where he spent five-and-a-half years before leaving Plainmoor back in February.

His first task is to help the board identify and recruit a new first team manager following the departure of Darrell Clarke to Barnsley yesterday afternoon.

Following the announcement of Johnson’s appointment, Chairman David Bloxham said:

“We’re delighted to appoint Gary and welcome him back to the club.

“Gary comes with a wealth of experience and I’m sure that he will do a really good job. Of the candidates we considered we feel Gary is the right man with the skillset to take us forward.

“We’re looking forward to working with him again and hope he can help us rebuild and bounce back from the disappointment of last season.”

As mentioned, fans were left stunned with Cheltenham set to appoint ex-Torquay manager Gary Johnson as DOF…

@Mlabus5: Can someone confirm to me that it’s not April Fools.

@k_y8t: Aaron downes as manager ?

@Rob_McPhee_UK: You’re having a laugh! Aren’t you?

@mayhem357_mark: 🤯🤯🤯 uff this does not restore any confidence at all.

We had a great season with him but how are the board forgetting what happened after?
– He made signing which more beneficial to him personally than the club
– Argued with fans
– Hostile to journos
I’m so tired


@_CallumPal96: My head has fully gone here. What the fuck is going on

@Tom_Wood23: This is catastrophic. If the manager is Lee Johnson consider me done with this football club

@josh_shepz: FUCK OFF 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

@hambling_ollie: What the actual fuck is going on

@Fraserwillmore_: head is fucking hot, the club is not serious 🤣

@loonietart: You what now?


@Fredsterface: Fuck off. Get rid of the board.

@joshyt6: That is hilarious btw 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

@Tom_Wood23: From this point it is impossible for it to get any worse, right..?😅

@ElRulistening: Might close twitter for a while. Every new update I’m just getting progressively sadder today 😂

@caldy003: And that is why DC will leave Cheltenham. I’d be worried if I was a Cheltenham fan

@StevieT180: I think you’ve been hacked Jon

@CRCull: At least it is not Martin Allen 🤣

@nathan_simpkins: This club will never learn

@waderCTFC: I feel sick. #ctfc

@MrBenStone: Next Head Coach Aaron Downes? 🤔

@CWReds87: Johnson Jr as gaffer.

@tomin7508: Lee Johnson now 😭😭

@PJones_23: Lee Johnson manager

@KLGibbo: The board keeping their mates who wouldn’t dare challenge them in a job. But might not actually be a bad appointment, this probably mean a young inexperienced manager is coming in

@chan40420: what!!

@AvidWilliams: Funny 🤣

@nathan_simpkins: Torquay should be a good example not to let him nowhere near any club

@zakw91: Unlucky lads this guy has now become a mercenary living and telling everyone about past glory’s and falling out with anyone in his path

@seanbaker87: 😂 that’s odd

@tomin7508: That’s Lee Johnson as manager then 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

@lazenbeee: This is hilarious… club says it doesn’t have a plan… the plan is bring back Gary Johnson… no one wants the plan 😂😂😂 It’s all about the PLAN 😂😂😂 @CTFCofficial is in deep trouble #shambles

@RachelVillavox: non-league Steve Bruce and then some. sympathies.

@k1999utd: Hmm, no DOF experience, will see if it’s someone he’s worked with as the new manager, say a former assistant. Maybe even his son, Lee.

@Jakey_Boyz: This is prime off season content. Back to back relegations just like their fellow neighbours

@rosie_dodds: Wow

@CTFC_2012: Aaron Downes or Lee Johnson as head coach then. #ctfc

@louiewh11: oh my god.

@bobbyowen91: JOHNSON HAD A DREAM


@ElliotBrady_: I’m done

@tylerkilmister: 😂😂😂😂 this is fantastic

@Belch_CTFC: Its just funny at this point 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

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