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Age before beauty?

23 March 2013

By Tony Leighton

The Football League's youngest manager had an off-the-wall compliment for the oldest as Oldham Athletic's 31-year-old new boss Lee Johnson contemplated facing a Shrewsbury Town team managed by Graham Turner.

match, like most of the fixtures scheduled for Saturday, had to be postponed because of snow. But that did not prevent Johnson from doffing his cap to a manager who at 65 is more than twice as old as himself.npower League 1Sadly the

"I didn't realise he was the oldest manager in The League," said Johnson when told by "But if that's the case then I just hope I look as good as he does when I'm the oldest - I'll have to ask him what moisturiser he uses!"

rivals Yeovil Town, while the vastly experienced Turner already has over 1600 games under his belt. npower League 1The game would have been only the second in management for rookie Johnson, whose father Gary, 57, is in charge of

But Johnson junior, after starting his managerial career with a 3-0 win against Hartlepool United - the result lifting Oldham out of the relegation zone - was set on taking three more vital points off another of his team's survival rivals.

"I think we demoralised Hartlepool," he said, "and the aim was to get a similar result at Shrewsbury. Their away form seems to be better than at home, and if that's maybe a little niggle in their mindset we'd have hopefully taken advantage.

"It was certainly good to get that first win behind me. The pressure would have been right on me if we'd got a bad result, but we did really well - the reaction of the lads to me coming in has been tremendous and I'm grateful for that."

As he looks to build a management career that can match or better the sort of success he has enjoyed as a player - the midfielder has won three promotions in England and the League Cup in Scotland - Johnson is grateful to a number of people who have helped him along the way, especially his father.

"I got the management bug off my dad," he said, having played under Johnson senior at Yeovil and Bristol City. "I was only about 20 when I started thinking long-term about management, so dad suggested that I log all the training sessions I liked and keep notes on all the managers I'd eventually play for.

"I did that, so as well as having a dossier on all the managers I've played for I've also spent a lot of my spare time going abroad - Spain for example, where I've visited Real Madrid and Barcelona - to see how managers and coaches operate and to talk not just to them but to players and club directors as well."

The young manager is now putting all that background knowledge to the test in the fierce heat of League 1 battle, and there is one battle in particular that he is not relishing as much as he might - Oldham's April meeting with Yeovil.

The spotlight will be on the father v son confrontation, but Johnson the younger reckoned: "For me it's a bit of a side-show. It will be horrible for dad and me in terms of our teams both needing crucial points but for different reasons.

"I want dad's team to get promoted after their great season, but obviously I want Oldham to stay up. It's going to great for the two clubs publicity-wise, but I'm not even thinking about it just yet - there are lots of points to be won before then."

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