THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

19 October ~ The signing of Roger Johnson was widely regarded as a significant coup for Wolves in the summer – not least by the club itself. Chief executive Jez Moxey doubtless revelled in the fact that he’d bagged his man from Birmingham for just £4.5 million after being quoted an astonishing £14m a few weeks earlier. But only eight games into the Premier League season, Johnson’s Wolves career is already at crisis point. Mick McCarthy’s decision to hand Johnson the captaincy seemed a curiously bold decision at the time. The professional Yorkshireman is a manager who places huge importance on loyalty and has worked tirelessly to create a sense of dressing-room unity at Wolves.

Taking the armband off Karl Henry, one of his first signings for the club back in 2006, was a surprise with Henry himself admitting he wasn’t happy with the decision. Of course, this should not have been a huge issue. Johnson appears to be a strong character and was soon organising his defence as Wolves kept consecutive clean sheets against Fulham and Aston Villa. But barking orders is a tougher task when your own game is struggling and Johnson has endured a difficult start to the season.

At home to QPR, Wolves were 2-0 down within a matter of minutes with Johnson partly culpable for Joey Barton’s opening goal. Next up against Liverpool, the defender diverted Charlie Adam’s hopeful effort into the net and a week later against Newcastle he was made to look foolish by Jonas Gutierrez. There was no upturn in form at The Hawthorns either, where Shane Long gave Johnson the runaround for 90 minutes – even beating him in the air at will.

This dismal run of form has seen Wolves lose five games on the bounce for the first time in more than a quarter of a century and it’s at times like these that players and managers come to rely on their good relationship with the fans. Favourites like Matt Jarvis and Kevin Doyle, for example, are struggling for form but have built up years of goodwill with supporters through their attitude on and off the field.

Johnson, however, is yet to build these bridges. Indeed, his most notable example of engaging with the fans was in calling them “a disgrace” and “disgusting” after large numbers cheered McCarthy’s decision to substitute Henry against Newcastle. Coming to the defence of his predecessor was probably something Johnson had to do as captain of the club – but antagonising the fans represents a gamble when you’re a big-money signing who is turning in below-par displays.

There’s still plenty of time for Roger Johnson to turn his Wolves career around. But with back-to-back games against Manchester City coming up, time is a luxury his manager can ill afford. Mick McCarthy needs his captain to deliver – starting at home to Swansea this weekend. Adam Bate

Comments (11)
Comment by Paul Rowland 2011-10-19 12:27:37

Quote: "The signing of Roger Johnson was widely regarded as a significant coup for Wolves in the summer." Er, not that widely, surely Adam? I'll be honest with you: The Signing Of Roger Johnson For Wolves In The Summer barely registered on my personal radar. And did somebody really value Roger Johnson at fourteen miilion? That sounds a little over the top to me. About twelve million over the top, to be precise.

Is it possible that the reason Wolves didn't have to pay anything like fourteen million for Roger Johnson, and the reason Roger Johnson has already dropped more than his fair share of ballcocks this season, is simply down to the fact that Roger Johnson isn't actually all that good?

Comment by ClayDavis 2011-10-19 12:49:59

He's good. He'll come good. Everyone has a blip. People should take a deep breath and calm down.

Comment by jonmid 2011-10-19 13:19:25

When he was signed there was a lot of praise from Wolves fans as well as several blues fans I know

Comment by bearlion 2011-10-19 15:37:12

Must be a midlands thing - I thought he was much better than Wolves. See also Scott Dann ending up at Blackburn

Comment by jonmid 2011-10-19 15:52:25

I don't know whether Johnson antagonised the fans quite a few Wolves fans I know including yours truly semi-agreed with him

Comment by Dalef65 2011-10-19 17:20:17

Bit of an over-sensationalised article me thinks....

We are 8 (yes 8.....!) games into the season,and a new signing is already being described as having his career "at crisis point"....
The clocks havent even gone back yet FGS

It would be ridiculous if it wasnt so laughable.....

Let the guy play,and you can make a sensible judgment later on..

Much later....

Comment by jonmid 2011-10-19 17:41:12

the worry I have is that Wolves are being caught in a quagmire whatever happpens victry is paramount against Swansea.

Comment by jameswba 2011-10-19 20:44:16

Guess Mick McMarthy's fear of qualifying for the Europa League is now a thing of the past(?)

Comment by MoeTheBarman 2011-10-19 22:20:18

Is he not allowed a settling period? It's only 8 games after all.

Comment by ian.64 2011-10-20 08:07:40

"Is he not allowed a settling period? It's only 8 games after all."

One could argue that he's had two top-flight season's worth of settling periods.

Comment by Eihei Dogen 2011-11-10 18:10:27

Dumb decision from Mick McCarthy to make RJ captain, annoying existing captain and other players. It is obvious from the two games that I have seen of WW this term that the rest of the team are not playing with Johnson. Why would you make a player captain when he has never done that job before, and when he has just arrived at the club. If you had the intention of doing so, let the man get his feet under the table for two to three months, wait for a reason to make the announcement, a run of poor form for example, and it would have worked. But Mick was naive, or his hand was forced, on this one. McLeish knew how to manage RJ, Mick appears not to. Johnson was brilliant for us last year with or without Dann. He was brilliant before we bought him. A player doesn't lose that.

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