Johnny Mann was Rita Littlewood's boyfriend for a brief period in early 1973. At the time, she and Len Fairclough had broken up when he distanced himself from her when he was in the running to be Mayor of Weatherfield feeling that she did his chances little good when it came to the views of fellow councillors. Seeing exactly through him, Rita dumped him. When Len lost the nomination to Alf Roberts, he tried to get back in with Rita and was thrown when she smilingly introduced him to Johnny at The Capricorn Club where she was resident singer. Rita further stirred things by suggesting that they all have a drink together with the toast being Auld Lang Syne.

Len and Johnny quickly became "alpha male" sparring partners as Johnny boasted of his work as the manager of a health club which Len was dismissive of. The two then bickered over local politics while Rita grew more apprehensive at the growing atmosphere between them, especially when Len offered him a fight and they retired to the gents' toilets for a punch-up. When Johnny put Len into a judo choke hold, he realised that he'd bitten off more than he could chew and that he also had some respect for the man. Rita was thrown when the two men returned to the bar on the friendliest of terms.