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Statement from Cheltenham Town manager Gary Johnson on JJ Hooper

7 August 2015

Deal for striker falls through

Striker JJ Hooper will not be signing for Cheltenham Town.

The former Havant and Waterlooville front man agreed a contract with the Robins and trained with the club yesterday. 

Boss Gary Johnson said: "It’s a strange situation and one that has never happened to me before. We trained in the morning as normal and then had the photos taken of us shaking hands and did all the interviews.

"JJ was then due to come in after giving our secretary (Paul Godfrey) all his details for the contract.  Paul told him to come in after training and it’d all be ready for him. He trained well, but then he didn’t come in.

"I was in a dentist’s chair for a couple of hours and when I came out of it, people were wondering where he was. I made a couple of calls to him and to his agent, but he was AWOL and then you start worrying about people.

"Word got back that he had a family emergency, but it then emerged in a text from him five hours later that he had an offer from another club and he’d like to go and see the club to see what the situation is.

"The minute I lose trust in someone and if it's not quite right, that’s it. He asked if I would wait for the weekend so he could speak to the other club and I said no because it's disrespectful to me and the football club given the situation. So I made his decision easy and said Cheltenham Town Football Club was no longer an option for him.

"We can only apologise to the fans and that's the only one that's happened to us like that during what has been a great pre-season. 

"This won't affect any of us on the even of the first match and it may be a blessing in disguise. We wish JJ Hooper all the best, but Cheltenham isn't a club he can come back to."

* Cheltenham kick off the Vanarama National League season at Lincoln City on Saturday (3pm).


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