9 – Eddie Johnson
Eddie Johnson arrived on a season long loan from Fulham and took up the Bluebirds number 9 shirt. His debut came in the league cup when he started the game against MK Dons. Two brief substitute appearances followed in the league before another start in the fiery Carling Cup defeat at Swansea City.
In that game, Eddie Johnson gave one of the poorest performances I have ever witnessed. He was completely overawed, ineffective and looked far out of his depth. Here we had a multi-million pound signing from the Premiership, a current USA International and reportedly costing around £15k per week. He was hauled off at half time and the seeds of doubt were sown.
Over the following weeks/months, Eddie Johnson became somewhat of a joke to fans. In his appearances, he looked more likely to fall over than speed past a defender, while his touch and effect were poor. He was so hapless however, that fans didn’t boo him in the treatment that Rhys Weston, Andy Campbell and Stephen McPhail have suffered – though his form was far worse than any.
In fact, fans began to cheer his appearances as a subject of humour. One thing he did show, was a work-rate – always a useful tool in winning over the Bluebirds support and he gradually gained some confidence. He was working hard in training, and cultivating a following amongst Cardiff City fans. On several occasions he put in a decent shift, using his impressive leap from a static position to good effect. In fact, he won a great deal in the air despite not being especially tall.
Twenty goal-less appearances came and went, and though a few games he did well, Eddie was contributing little. That is, unless you count crowd participation! Every time he entered the pitch to cries of Eddie, Eddie with USA chants to boot. He liked it, I’m not sure how the other players took it however.
Then came the day, the seventh of March 2009, when Eddie Johnson scored his first ever goal on European soil. And what a goal it was! Although we had already sealed the points against Barnsley, Eddie took possession on the right before cutting infield and placing a pinpoint low shot into the far corner – it really was a neat finish and sent Ninian Park into raptures.
He was later to score another goal (a well-finished 1-on-1) against Derby County but followed that with an in-explicable own goal in the same game. He continued to appear from the substitutes bench and win his headers, occasionally getting behind defences and developing a rather clumsy looking stepover routine. In all he made 30 appearances for the Bluebirds, with 25 of those from the bench.
In all – Eddie Johnson’s main contribution to the season was of an entertaining nature. He actually did well on several occasions, and was a genuine contender for man of the match on those occasions. However, it’s almost un-deniable that he never really threatened Jay Bothroyd’s starting position and certainly didn’t fulfil his potential.
The biggest disappointment is the wages we paid to Eddie, around £15k a week. If that figure is correct, or even close, we were robbed and the signing comes close to a disasterous decision by Jones/Ridsdale. We have to be careful with money, and must see a far better return on that kind of expenditure. Eddie Johnson probably could do a job in the Championship, the truth is that he didn’t for us – but he worked hard, never hid and at least kept us mildly entertained. I saw Eddie Johnson Score. Twice.
Season Rating: 4
Cardiff City Season Review: Eddie ‘ Eagle’ Johnson
9 – Eddie Johnson