Saturday, February 6th, 2016
Bristol City has today appointed Lee Johnson as its new head coach on a three-and-a-half-year contract.
The 34-year-old arrives with immediate effect, after City secured permission from Barnsley to speak to Johnson on Friday.
Johnson returns to Ashton Gate, where he made 197 appearances as a player over six seasons and helped secure promotion in 2007.
City’s chief operating officer Mark Ashton said: “Lee is a very bright, intelligent young man who is highly motivated and very detailed in his approach. He’s well-known to the club; fans, stakeholders and staff.
“He is one of the up and coming coaches in the country and having interviewed him, I had no hesitation in recommending to the Board that Lee is the right fit for this football club.
“Lee also has the advantage of knowing Bristol City very well and will be able to fit seamlessly back into Ashton Gate.
“There are substantial synergies in the way that we think and the way that we believe football departments should be operated.
“We’ll work together to build this football club for sustainable success.”
He added: “I’d like to thank Barnsley FC for their professionalism, allowing us to speak to and subsequently appoint Lee.”
Johnson will work alongside the existing backroom team, with John Pemberton becoming his first team coach.
Ashton continued: “I’d like to thank John Pemberton for the outstanding professionalism he has shown during his spell in interim charge and the way in which he has cared for this club.
“John has been kept fully abreast of our plans and will remain in the backroom staff as an assistant to Lee, which I’m delighted about.”
As a player Johnson spent time in the youth setup at Arsenal and Watford, before making his name in the game with Yeovil Town, winning promotions from non-league, League Two and League One.
He joined Scottish Premier League Hearts in 2006, before returning to England six months later to sign for City.
Johnson was a key figure as City secured automatic promotion from League One in 2006/07, and continued as a mainstay in the team that reached the Championship play-off final the following year.
After leaving the club in January 2012, Johnson moved to Scotland once more, this time signing for Kilmarnock.
Just over a year later his playing career came to an end following his appointment as manager of Oldham Athletic. At the age of 31, he was the youngest boss in the Football League.
He quickly guided the Latics out of the relegation zone and the following season embarked on a recruitment drive which included bringing in Korey Smith permanently, whom he handed the captain’s armband.
His good work at Boundary Park soon caught the attention of the football world and Barnsley made a move for Johnson in February 2015, appointing him as head coach to replace Danny Wilson.
Johnson guided Barnsley away from the relegation zone, ultimately achieving a top-half finish in League One. Just this week he guided the Tykes to Wembley for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final, and he leaves the club chasing a play-off place.