Second chances in football are tough to come by in the modern game. Making a minimal mistake could mean a player may have to start again in a new league. Chester manager Anthony Johnson is not one of those managers to give up on a player.
The opinionated and passionate Former soldier is an avid twitter user. He does not shy away from expressing his opinion on the social media network. After Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood were sent home from England duty, he used the social media site to publicly criticise the length of punishment that was given to the young prospects.
“I understand why they were sent home from a legal standpoint; they broke Icelandic national protocol. But for an eighteen or nineteen-year-old lad, that is enough punishment, knowing that you are going to be in the public eye for the next while.”
“I think once you’ve made a decision on something, I don’t think you need to drag out punishment. It doesn’t matter how good the players are or if they are just in there to cover injuries, once a player been dealt with there should be that element of a second chance.”
The past also does not stop Anthony Johnson signing players that he feels will be a good addition to his side. This is the case with players like Paddy Lacey who got into serious trouble with the law due to situations that involved counterfeit cash and drugs.
Managers worldwide would automatically turn their back on a player with a past as troubled as this. But Anthony is not a manager who would give up on a player.
“I would like to say I’m a bit of a flawed character myself, been in and out of trouble when I was younger.”
“I think it’s been very easy to toss players aside based on mistakes that they’ve made, but I think as a society these days what we should be trying to do is educate them on what they have done previously to make sure the mistakes aren’t carried over going forward.”
Anthony has also given second chances to former Everton youth player George Green, a player who made a big money move from Bradford to Everton as sixteen years old. He then was released after having hardships with Drugs. Then there is Gary Roberts who was close to a move to Tottenham before that fell through because of a gambling problem.
“Doesn’t matter what you’ve done if you’re apologetic and you want to make amends then the second chance should be allowed to commence right away.”
Chester has not only become a tough contender to compete, it has also become a place for talented footballers with a tainted past to redeem and show the quality that they have.