Judging by the abundance of sites and newspapers claiming Bradley Johnson yesterday underwent a medical with newly promoted Norwich City, it seems only a matter of time before it’s announced his free transfer to Stephen Fry’s beloved Canaries is complete.

Reflecting on Johnson’s time at Elland Road brings mixed emotions. Bradley Johnson had the ability to go from infuriating to magical, lazy to tireless and useless to integral and back again several times per match.

The one thing I won’t miss about Bradley Johnson is the wild 40 yard shots he hit at every available opportunity regardless of angle, the options he has in front of him or scoreline. The Kop and South Stand will once again be a place where you can sit without fear of a Johnson special smashing you in the face and I imagine the ball-boys are pretty pleased with the news too.

It was only really in his final season at Leeds United that his full potential began to show as Simon Grayson switched him to a more defensive role, removing the opportunity for speculative shots and putting his power and weight to good use. In this position, Johnson played his best season for the Whites, tirelessly and fearlessly battling away in an ultimately doomed attempt to help the weakest defence in the Championship keep the ball out of the back of the net.

Regardless of how you personally rate Johnson, he’s been an ever-present in the Simon Grayson side that won promotion from League One and narrowly missed out on a play-off spot this season.

It’s all too easy to highlight the moments of magic and suppress the infuriating ones, but for the uncontainable excitement he showed as his cross found it’s way to Jermaine Beckford to slot home the promotion winning goal of 2009/10 (not to mention his celebrations afterwards) and for the odd strike that didn’t sail over the roof of the Kop (Arsenal in the FA Cup comes to mind) I wish Johnson all the best. After all, football is all about suffering through hours of agony for a few precious moments of joy, and Johnson certainly provided us all with a few of those.

14 Responses

  1. Dje

    Yeah, he should be remembered as one of those who were there when we turned the ship around in League One and got our self-respect back. For that I’m grateful and wish him the best of luck.

    Part of me thinks he wont prosper so well at Norwich in the Premiership as at Leeds in the Championship – but you cant blame him for taking the chance – the other part wonders whether we have let a rough diamond go just as he is about to shine.

    Regardless, we need a replacement who is better than him, and we need a replacement sooner the better.

  2. Kev

    Johnson personifies that final sentence!

    I remember despising him after his excessive shooting from 40 yards out at the most crucial of times – when losing on aggregate to Millwall in the playoff semis.

    I still hold that against him but he did redeem himself a little with his goal streak at the start of our promotion season and, as you mentioned, his actions on the day we got promoted.

    Not to mention the goal v Arsenal. I won’t miss him but he’ll be remembered.


    Dje sums it up perfectly. Seen so many comments slagging him off now that he is leaving. If you listen to his interview on talksport in January he was under no illusions about being the best footballer at the club but wanted his salary to reflect that he was an ever present in the team.
    Personally I think he will never be any better than a decent championship midfielder and we certainly need better quality in his position.
    Darren Pratley has just been released on a free and would be an ideal replacement.
    Good luck Bradders, look forward to shouting “shoot” at you when we next play Norwich!

  4. Gryff

    A far better winger than defensive midfielder in my view. He gave away too many silly free-kicks and errors for the writeups he got in those positions.

  5. norman carlisle

    the question is has Simon got a better midfielder lined up on similiar wages to Johnson never mind a transfer fee. In addition will Snodgrass be offered a new contract following alleged overtures from Norwich city.Enjoyed the video shown above.

  6. Chicago White

    Bradders was our most consistent player last season I think it’s a mistake Bates got in a public feud with him and that consigned his fate and I suspect he will not be replaced with better or cheaper. He’s still very young and I suspect he will do ok in the EPL. As for his shooting all my coaches never berated a player for shooting in fact if you don’t shoot you don’t score.

    • The Reaper 08

      I don’t know where you played or at what level but the only time we were ever encouraged to shoot on sight was the under 12’s, and then only when you knew the little lad in the opposition goal wasn’t up to it.

      It’s wasteful and it just hands the ball back to the opposition so they can attack you.

      • Colin

        Maybe it does hand the ball back to the opposition, but if you don’t shoot, you don’t win. I think Leeds last season were a perfect example of why it is good to shoot – we got lots of goals from our willingness to shoot.

        Bradley Johnson just can’t win. He scores one of the best goals in England this season (vs Arsenal) and he gets criticised for his shooting ability. Go figure.

        We shouldn’t have let Bradley go IMHO. He makes it into the top 6 players of last season for me.

      • The Reaper 08

        My reference is to his shoot on sight policy that usually ends up in row z.

  7. number1inyorkshire

    bobby Charlton of England said “if you don’t shoot you don’t score “simples .we have been guilty of not shooting enough in real terms over the last several seasons .

    good bye bradders

    the lack of movement in is annoying they will all be gone ,the good ones that is and we will be left with the dross again .

  8. Dje

    I’ve never liked ‘shoot on sight’ as a tactic. It smacks of desperation and a lack of attacking ideas. It should only be a part of the attacking armory, not the only weapon. Considering Johnson’s lack of assists despite the good central positions he got in with the ball at his feet, you sort of have to conclude the ‘shoot from range’ was as much about a lack of creativity in feeding in other players.

    To be honest, it was a very odd season with us scoring a lot of goals for fun from the edge of the box, or further out. Although not his fault, our formation of 4-5-1 and the use of Becchio (and Paynter when Becchio was injured) to hold the ball up whilst our midfielders caught up (and usually shot from the edge of the box) limited the chances we made for someone to slink in between defenders and be left with a one on one with the keeper or a tap-in. Nothing wrong with a health dose of tap-ins!

    As it was, I did think we came to see long shots as a natural avenue to goals as the season wore on, and in the last ten or so games we were too reliant on shooting from distance rather than using the creativity of players such as Snodgrass, Howson and Gradel to run at defenders with the ball at their feet, or to slide a ball through the middle. So when we bring in Johnson’s replacement then he better be able to read attacking play more than Johnson did. If he can do that, then I’m happy if he has a shit long shot and knows it!

    • Craig

      IMO the ‘shoot or pass’ debate is inevitably skewed by the Goal of the Season mentality. I think BJ spent too much time on Youtube. You could compile a collection of screamers scored at distance by a whole list of players – mostly midfielders I think – and only the supporters of that players’ club would know a rough ratio of scored to missed opportunities.

      The risk of choosing to pass rather than shoot is that whilst the ball is making its way through a crowded defence there is a strong likelihood of it being cleared and a chance to score is thus lost. Weigh this against the greater chance of scoring if the ball does make it through and is weighted correctly and you have the conundrum that is attacking football.

      I am desperately hoping we sign another midfielder with an eye for the killer ball and that Becchio and McCormack forge a good partnership in pre-season.

  9. Irving08

    The team will miss him. The boy deserves more respect than he got at Leeds from fans and management alike. Just who do we think we are ?


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