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EVERTON PAST PLAYER PROFILES

Andy Johnson

Johnson
Squad number 8
Position Striker
Joined 30 May 2006
Joined from Crystal Palace
Signed by David Moyes
Transfer fee £8.6M
Debut v Watford (H)
19 August 2006
Contract duration 4 years
Contract expires June 2010
Finalé v Arsenal (A)
4 May 2008
Left Everton to Fulham
31 August 2008
Transfer fee £10.5M
Born Bedford
Date of birth 10 February 1981
Height 5' 7"
Nickname(s) Magic, AJ, Johnno
Honours England international


STRENGTHS
Pace
Finishing
Tenacity
Low centre of gravity
 
WEAKNESSES
Lack if natural skill
Needs good service to score regularly
Can disappear in games


Soccerbase Datafile

When Andy Johnson became Everton's record signing in May 2006, that enormous £8.6M transfer fee wasn't the only reason for the burden of expectation placed on the Bedford-born player by the Goodison faithful.

There was also the haunting fact that not since Gary Lineker in the 1985-86 season had anyone managed to score more than 20 goals in a season — the unofficial yardstick by which great strikers are measured in top-flight English football — for the Blues.

For Evertonians, fed on a steady diet of disappointing returns from a long line of forwards after the departure of Peter Beardsley in the early 1990s, the arrival of a natural finisher with proven goalscoring success in the Premiership was cause for cautious optimism.

Johnson started his playing career at Birmingham City but he didn't really grab many headlines and was slow to find his scoring boots.  He suffered heartache there as he missed a decisive penalty for his boyhood team in a penalty shoot-out against Liverpool in the 2001 Worthington League Cup Final.  In 2002, he was sold for £750k to Crystal Palace as makeweight in a deal for Clinton Morrison.

The move was not greeted with a great deal of enthusiasm by Palace fans but in the end it turned out to be a very good one.  Under then manager, Iain Dowie, Andy's all-round game improved and in the 2003-04 season he finished as the First Division's top goal scorer with 32 goals. It was those goals that took Palace into the top flight, albeit for one season.

When Palace visited Goodison, they lost 4-0, giving Everton biggest win of the season.  In that game Johnson was giving Stubbs and Weir a hard time with his pace and hit the post with a shot on the turn.  He scored 21 Premiership goals that season to win the Golden Boot.  His performance in the top flight earned him two England caps, but strangely out of position — a striker playing on the right wing!

Following Palace's demotion back to the Coca Cola Championship, Johnson signaled his intention to leave in the summer of 2005, but while Everton lodged a bid of £6M for his services it was rejected.  Chairman Simon Jordan said “What do you want for £6 million, his boots?”  Johnson was persuaded to sign a new 5-year deal with the club. 

Unfortunately for Palace, Johnson's 2005-06 season was disrupted by injury and although he bagged 17 goals, the South London side were beaten in the 2006 League Championship playoffs.  Johnson again made it clear that he wanted to leave and Everton were alerted to his potential availability.

This time though, David Moyes was not alone. Bolton and Wigan also came in for him and Jordon appeared to be holding a three-way auction, with Wigan's £8.5 million offer setting the pace.  When Bolton matched that bid, Everton, confident that the player preferred a move to Merseyside, came in with an improved offer of £8.6m. The rest, as they say, is history and even though Sam Allardyce apparently cut short his holiday to give Johnson a tour of Bolton's Reebok Stadium, Everton got their man.

Johnson said upon signing for Everton, “I find the prospect of playing for one of the biggest names in British football too good an offer to turn down.”  And so they agreed personal terms, either £30k or £40k a week depending on whom you believe, for 4 years and was the club record buy for a year until Moyes smashed his own record with the capture of Yakubu for £11.25m

After not scoring in pre-season, Andy Johnson delivered the goods when it mattered, with a nice goal 15 mins into his debut against Watford. And he went on to bang in 5 goals in five games, with a brace against Liverpool before they suddenly dried up and Everton sank from 3rd to 10th amidst an annoying spate of penalty-dive accusations from managers who should have known better. 

The controversy definitely seemed to have taken the edge off AJ's game, and the refs seemed suddenly immune to even the most blatant penalty claim.  David Moyes was so enraged by this, he even assembled a video compilation for Keith Hackett; the head of the refs board, who agreed that Everton had been hard done by a number of questionable decisions.

Thankfully, he was scoring again by Christmas, but not prolifically.  Vital goals were scored — none better than the crucial winner against Arsenal in the last minute — just not enough of them, although much of that was down to a lack of service rather than any lack of effort on his part.

Faced by clever managers and even cleverer defenders, his direct threat was easily negated by forcing him wide whilst his energy was gradually depleted as the style of play that was pervasive in the Everton side in his first season necessitated him going in search of the ball. 

Lacking natural skill and occasionally let down by his first touch, he has rarely looked like the kind of player who can create his own chances. He requires balls down the channels which he can attack at pace and can be deadly in the six-yard box when the ball is loose.

The arrival of Yakubu in August 2007, the revival of the 4-1-4-1 formation a couple months after that and injury to Johnson all conspired to restrict the marksman's appearances the following campaign, with a good number coming froim the bench as substitute... but he rarely showed he was as sharp with only a couple of well-taken goals as the season drew to a close. 

Indeed there were signs that his prolonged lack of confidence over the "diving" slander from Warnock and Wenger still preyed on his mind. He ultimately didn’t have the top skills required to score 20+ goals a season.

AJ became the sacrifice for ready cash needed to fund Moyes's expansion in a close season bereft of any action on the transfer front. A deal was agreed with Fulham but it took a while to finally to go through because Al Fayed brought in his own personal physician to conduct the medical. It was presumed that he'd claimed to have found evidence of an 'old knee injury' because Fulham didn't want to pay the full price Everton demanded...  The fee, incredibly, £10.5M.

A couple of years later... and Johnson, who had done little to reclaim his former glories at Fulham, was laid low with a knee injury... perhaps Al Fayed was right all along!

By Michael Kenrick and Lyndon Lloyd
Last updated July 2010


Everton Career
Season Squad
Number
League
Apps (sub)
League
Goals
Cup
Apps (sub)
Cup
Goals
Total
Apps (sub)
Total
Goals
2006-07
8
32 (0)
11
3 (0)
1
35 (0)
12
2007-08
8
20 (9)
6
9 (1)
4
29 (10)
10
  Totals
52 (9)
17
12 (1)
5
64 (10)
22

Prior Club Record
Season Team Appearances (sub) Goals
1997-02 Birmingham City 44(39) & 9(12) 8 &  5
2002-06 Crystal Palace 134(6) & 20(0) 74 & 11


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