The media reaction to Johnson resignation

Updated: November 17, 2011

So Johnson has resigned before he was sacked but Rob Andrew stubbornly refuses to even consider his position……..Thus the English R.F.U is “rudderless” at this time since Acting Chief Executive, Martyn Thomas resigned but two weeks ago. (CEO John Steele had already been forced out months earlier).

Here are some of the immediate reactions to Johnson’s resignation from the British media:


“It is not all Martin Johnson’s fault. How can it be? When you work for the most dysfunctional employers in the country, you are fully entitled to a spoonful or two of sympathy. As Brian Ashton, Andy Robinson and even Sir Clive Woodward discovered before him, coaxing success out of the players is barely half the story for any England rugby coach or manager. Few stables in world sport need a more urgent blast from a pressure-hose than the fetid corridors of Twickenham “.


“Johnson has been honourable to the last but it is a disappointing end for the man who led England to the 2003 World Cup. There were bright moments along the way. England’s win over Australia in Sydney in 2010 was an outstanding display, as was their victory over the Wallabies at Twickenham a few months later. Johnson’s side also won the Six Nations in March, despite a hefty defeat by Ireland in the final match, but it is clear he was not given the necessary support from his employers. Johnson’s resignation may well lead to increased calls for his immediate boss, Rob Andrew, to step down as well.”


Commentator Stuart Barnes said: “Martyn Thomas went for public opinion rather than wisdom and three-and-a-half years later England paid the price for cheap populism,” he told Sky Sports News HD.

“Martyn Thomas has already resigned and one has to say Rob Andrew was against the initial appointment of Johnson and when Martyn Thomas put the pressure on, Rob Andrew changed his mind.

“I think really Rob Andrew should go too after this, because it has set England back a long way,” he told Sky Sports News HD.

“It’s the whole thing; this is a chain that goes from the top and the people wearing suits down to the bottom and the players wearing shirts and representing England.

“There is a moral malaise in the RFU where people are more interested in protecting their positions than doing what’s right for England.”


“By stepping down, Johnson will clear the way for a swifter conclusion of the review process and allow the union kingmakers to address the pressing issue of appointing a successor, with the Six Nations just two-and-a-half months away and a revised senior squad due to be named in six weeks.

They will doubtless consider the claims of global luminaries such as Graham Henry and Wayne Smith – who presided over the All Blacks’ World Cup triumph, Nick Mallett and even Sir Clive Woodward. Among the candidates from the domestic game, Jim Mallinder of Northampton heads the list”.


“Sir Bobby Charlton and Willie John McBride were notable for their failure to make the transition and now Martin Johnson, perhaps the most successful England rugby player in history, can be added to that list.

As a manager, coach – call him what you will – he hasn’t cut the mustard and perhaps he never will.

Of course Johnson was never properly qualified for the specific job he was asked to do. His appointment was a huge punt on behalf of the RFU”

And even before the resignation announcement:


“It is Tindall’s betrayal which has apparently played the dominant role in Johnson’s decision now to consider giving up his role as the England manager. Given their links, given what they had come through together, ‘betrayal’ is the only appropriate term.

As England vice-captain and a man who had actually led the team in the early matches at the World Cup, Tindall’s conduct was at best drunkenly oafish, at worst despicable.

We can ignore the minor clowns, the Ashtons, Haskells and Tuilagis, it was Tindall who lied to his leader, Tindall who hung him out to dry, Tindall who sat back smugly while Johnson tried to paint an acceptable picture. Yes, ‘despicable’ comes closest.

For Johnson knows the truth of it. He may curse himself for being too lax, too trusting, too ‘old school’ in his approach to discipline. But he knows where the blame lies, and he knows that most of it lies at the feet of Mike Tindall.

Johnson may be a generous friend but I suspect he is also an implacable enemy and I doubt that he will ever forgive the lout who betrayed him. And neither will English rugby”.

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