Johnson meets his goals

The big news out of Elland Road today is that Bradley Johnson has rejected a three year contract extension with the club after ‘failing to agree personal terms’ – which is football talk for ‘give me more money!’

It would be hypocritical of me to criticise Bradley Johnson and his agent for trying to negotiate a better deal because I do the same thing every year and always drag my heels until I’ve negotiated the pay-rise I think I deserve. After all, if you get results it stands to reason that you should be rewarded for that success with a bigger slice of the ever-growing proverbial pie.

In the case of Bradley Johnson, it’s difficult to argue against his success. His goal at the beginning of last season was to get the club promoted and when the Bristol keeper spilled his cross into the path of Jermaine Beckford, Johnson was bouncing in joy as Becks poked it goalwards. Goal reached, job done, pay-rise and bonus criteria met.

With that in mind, I fully support the tactics being used by Bradders and his agent. I don’t envy the challenge they’ll face in trying to get Uncle Ken to loosen the purse-strings but it’s a battle of wits that capitalism is built on – a dog-eat-dog world where the labradoodle (Johnson) must face up to the experienced and ruthless pitbulls of Bates et al. Luckily for Johnson, even Bates needs a few labradoodles to keep the supporters happy, so he might just come out alive.

What I do question is whether we need this particular labradoodle for the next three years? Or do we need him at all for that matter?

An extension of three years means Johnson would be tied to the club until the summer of 2014. If Leeds United aren’t back in the Premier League by that point, I’d be extremely concerned about the progress the club has made, as I’m sure Bates et al would be too – and therein lies the problem.

I was questioning the ability of Bradley Johnson when we were in League One and the only thing that’s changed since we’ve entered the Championship is that Simon Grayson has moved him down the pecking order and started to use him as more of a squad player. For me to question the first team credentials of a player is one thing, but when the manager has started to tire of his wasteful 40 yard shots and inability to pass you have to wonder whose bright idea it was to sign him on for another three years?

I can’t help thinking that what we have here is another Andy Robinson. Someone who is a capable enough footballer at a certain level, but will inevitably fall down the pecking order as the team strengthens and progresses.

What this means is that we’re essentially signing a squad player who will presumably be amongst the highest earners at the club? Either that, or my ambition for Leeds United over the coming years differs from that of the management and owners?

Or maybe… just maybe… Bradley Johnson is the next Ronaldinho?

46 Responses

  1. Huxy

    I’d like him to sign another contract as I do think that he can progress as a player.
    Although he does need to build more on his passing, and stop thinking he can pull a Rooney 10 yards outside of the box screamer because they are wasted chances.

    • TSS


      Wants to be like Beckham. He thinks he’s as good (if not better), hence the 40 yard shots every game! ;)

  2. Lowfields

    In a word: no…. but I do think he has his uses as a squad player. He’s not quick enough to be a left-back, nor creative enough to be a left-sided midfielder, but I do think his energy and commitment could be put to effective use as a utility/defensive midfielder – if he can be convinced he’s not the next Gareth Bale, of course.

    As modest as his talents are, I would rather be paying his wages than the Bromby-Hughes-Robinson-Naylor dead wood still laying around. And Grayson obviously thinks enough of him to keep him at the club, so why not chuck him a few quid and make shifting out some of the others a real priority in January?

  3. Craig

    Is it my wishful thinking or has anyone else noticed that Johnson has tried fewer of those speculative shots in recent games? Maybe he’s at last listening to his coach?

    As I said on the last thread I think Johnson has shot himself in the foot with this refusal. He’s only just good enough at this level and he’s not going to get any better offers imo. If I was Grayson I’d ‘reward’ his lack of loyalty by dropping him from the squad for a few games and give Nunez a run instead.

    • TSS


      I’m going to add the word ‘Nunez’ to the spam filter! :)

      He wasn’t afforded the same freedom in the last game because Howson was further forward so never had the opportunity to shoot.

  4. Craig


    I understand your comments on Nunez and, although I was always hopeful he might be another gem, I wasn’t one of those who was urging Grayson to throw him in before he felt Ramon was ready. It is what I’ve seen of him in the few times he’s come on that assures me that he could do no worse than Johnson in the midfield and could be worth a few games.

    • TSS


      I still don’t think I’ve seen enough of him to pass judgement. He’s only played in games where the match is already over by the time he’s come on and it’s very different experience when there’s something to play for. I remain hopeful, but am not holding my breathe either.

  5. Lowfields

    Nunez and Johnson aren’t really in competition for places, though. Nunez is in the Howson/Kilkenny mold – a creative link player.

    I think Johnson is best used as either a DiLivio-style dogged midfielder securing the left flank, or an energetic ball-winner in front of the back-four. At the moment, though, he’s trying, and failing, to be Gary Speed c1991.

  6. Max.

    Don’t really rate Johnson that much. He does score goals and beat men, but at this level he is really not quick enough or skilful enough to make a consistent impact. I actually think Andy Robinson is a better player. He drifts out of position too often (which may help his goal rate) and can often be found wandering into forward midfield, leaving the left back exposed. I don’t think we’ll be embarrassed by him finding success elsewhere, put it that way. I’d rather see us get a decent defensive midfielder.

    Nunez doesn’t look that dissimilar to Gradel, not sure I’d necessarily retain both, though in both cases I’d prefer them to Johnson. Of the wingers we have, my preferences are Sam and Snodgrass – not sure what has happened to Sam.

  7. Andy

    I do rate Johnson, and I’d like to see him sign a new contract. He’s still only young and can definitely improve with the club.

    And I don’t think I would be ‘extremely’ concerned if we weren’t in the Premiership by 2014. I think we can be, but do remember that it took us 3 years to get out of a division we were ‘too good for’…

    • leeds-lad

      andygiff, …… sorry to say it, but your attitude lacks any ambition for a club of the size of Leeds United to return to the Premier League, Yes, we where in D1 for three years, but most supporters ( other than yourself ) feel that was unacceptable !. A club averaging 25000+ attendances should be generating sufficient revenue to attract better quality players than Johnson.
      Unfortunately supporters who are quite happy to accept “mediocrity” play directly into the hands of Ken Bates, and simply further encourage his regime to look on Leeds United as a “cash cow”.

  8. Nasty Jim

    Just about good enough at championship level – let him see out his contract and replace him for next seasons promotion winning team!

  9. md

    Think SG should be looking to improve quality of squad. Don’t think signing Johnson for 3 more years does this.

  10. les irwin

    the simple answer is no we don’t he doesn’t bring any thing to the team that we can’t replace easily although again had he been a better player one we couldn’t do without would he leave because of the money being offered ??? i think that’s a question worth asking .robbo scored again in the reserves play him til his contracts up .we have sam and gradel .clayton scored again too play him instead of fake i mean faye . there are easily 6-7 players we need rid off johnson being one

  11. EYLeeds

    I’m guessing that he is on a fairly low contract at the moment and has probably been offered similar terms to start negotiations. Grayson rates him so I’d expect that he will accept an improved offer and his agent is just ‘earning’ his cut.

    If he doesn’t improve enough to be a first team regular then he is worth something in the transfer market if Leeds have him on a long term contract. I know transfer fees aren’t what they used to be in lower leagues but Johnson would attract a relatively decent bid due to his age.

    At least we have improved our contract negotiations from the Ridsdale era. Remember the stories about his namesake’s (Seth) contract offer!

    • TSS


      I remember getting lambasted for the complete derision I met his signing with. I appeared to be the only one that thought it was a joke at the time!

      But then, I thought Roque Junior would be an inspired addition, so what do I know?

  12. EYLeeds

    Hey TSS, if we had a crystal ball and could know how good or bad a signing would be, football would be a boring!

    I never got why we went for Seth Johnson and Fowler at the time, but just assumed we could afford them and would make the squad stronger….how wrong that was!

  13. Paul South Wales

    I would like to see more of Clayton before commenting, but it wouldn’t be a huge loss at this level. Bring back Robinson!

  14. Chareose

    has it occurred to you that Johnson hasnt re-signed because hes aware of how low regarded he is by Leeds fans….. ?? Most players will read forums like this every so often.

    • TSS


      Interesting theory, but I think professional footballers are able to handle the criticism. You only have to read Jonny Howson’s rallying call ahead of Cardiff and reaction to the criticism post-Scunny to see that they know the realities of the game.

      Football isn’t entirely physical ability, the mental side of it is important too and if Bradley doesn’t believe he’s good enough to prove us wrong then the criticism is well-founded and he doesn’t deserve a new contract because he’ll never improve beyond his current level. He seems a genuinely nice guy and his faults aren’t for lack of trying, so I’d love him to prove me wrong and justify the contract extension and salary hike.

  15. Tim Campbell

    Bradders had his moments in div 1 but I think this is a bridge too far for him. As TSS mentioned it could be a blessing in disguise that he did’nt sign for another 3 years. On my favourite subject of nunez I would certainly give him a start ahead of the likes of johnson or kilkenny. The guys got good feet and plenty of pace, which, from what I have seen this year in the Championship, is a vital commodity

  16. Will S

    OK, f I may join pedant’s corner and say that your description of capitalism as “dog-eat-dog” is a much overused and inaccurate metaphor.

    Johnson and Bates are trading to reach a mutually agreeable position. If no agreement is reached, BJ is *free* to take his services elsewhere and Leeds are free to save the outlay of his salary for better use.

    Such negotiations are not a zero sum game; both parties get the result they want. BJ gets his salary or freedom. KB gets a wage he is happy to pay, or a saving in costs, and SG gets a player he wants to keep, or (perhaps) gets the budget to bring soeone better in.

    I would prefer him to leave as there is better out there at this level but that is not to doubt him as someone who is generally honest in his endeavours and has always given the club his all. That I respect, even if I think he is not someone who can take us further up the league.

    • TSS

      @Will S

      The dog-eat-dog metaphor made sense at the time of writing, but on reflection, I see your point!

      Still, you know what I mean…

      Negotiations are ruthless and Bates will have no qualms cutting him lose and replacing him if Bradley doesn’t accept Bates’ top line.

  17. Matt

    The annoying thing about Johnson is that one minute you can be scoffing a pie, spitting crust at the back of someones head in anger with his performance, only for you to be left mouth open with half chewed pie cascading out of your gob when he only goes and scores a goal, therefore, pissing on our metaphorical bonfire.

  18. paul wilde

    Im afraid Bradley is a good Div 1 player,but in the Championship he is an also ran chap. How many times does he shoot and f*** up He makes me scream in frustration.His ratio is so bad we are looking at 30 shots on goal two on target.Its pathetic

  19. Jt

    The lad may try but he has no footballing brain, is constantly wandering out of position and not to put too finer point on it but he is just not good enough!! I wouldnt give him a contract for three months never mind three years!! Apart from a decent start to LAST season and that ‘cross’ (where he fell on his arse and it could have gone anywhere by the way) what has he actually done???

    • Mike

      There’s always a dissenter innit? :-)
      It’s often me….
      But I wouldn’t be offering anybody 3 years.

  20. Mark R

    The main thing that let’s Bradley down is his lack of composure & finesse on the ball. He’s full of energy but the higher we climb, the more it is about skill, movement, positioning – for want of a better term – a football brain.

    I’m sure he’s a decent bloke, but unless SG sees Beadley significantly developing over the next few months, he should look to improve the squad.


  21. Bill Fox

    Good to hear Sam on the way back – thought he was very strong in opening few games.

  22. lufcboy

    Let him go. A waste of space at best. Has about 4 good games a season. Bye bye Brad

  23. White to the core

    What tripe has his agent been filling his head with. That he can do better than Leeds? Personally i will be glad to see him go. He has added very little whilst on the pitch except keet the elland rd ball boys and punters sat in rows Z busy! I would rather we had got a fee mind. Once again poor player management all round. Lets hope its not Becchio next. After all its not long ago ‘hoofer’ Johnson was saying he wanted a new contract at Leeds. To think of who we would be left with if the 5 players whos contracts have less than a year to run all say no, doesnt bear thinking about!

  24. James Morris

    Let him go… Simply not good enough for this league.
    Shut the door on the way out Bradley… He will be at Brighton next season ;@)

  25. badras

    i think its time for him to move on .im fed up of him wasting possesion by shooting from distance. theres plenty more players out there that are better than him and probably dont want as big a wage. so good bye johnson

  26. Charlie Big Potatoes

    Like most I think he flatters to deceive and doesn’t make any consistent / tangible contribution to the team, very similar to Kilkenny. They both tend to ghost through matches and leave you wondering at the final whistle as to what they actually did in the game. Let him go!

    You can’t justify a 3 year contract for someone who at Championship level is ultimately a ten a penny squad player who could be easily replaced.

    Although in saying that, he’ll no doubt leave and become a phenomenal over night sensation playing for someone else!

  27. love leeds

    All depends on his demand for wages which we will never no.

    If he wants to be one of the highest paid players bye,bye see you later.

    He is an average championship player at best.

  28. Raph

    Its a shame. Hopefully its his agents work same as becks’ at beginning of year. Brads probably a decent bloke but his agent been bigging him up, he isnt going to get the same pantomime as the beckford saga, he can easily be replaced (in the nicest possible way) but honestly, like jermaine or not, we wouldnt have got someone as influencial last season

  29. jimmyleeds

    looks like you were all wrong been one of our best players this year an will be missed if he leaves us…. end of story


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