Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Coventry City Advent Calendar - My 25 Favourite Players - Day 5 - Reda Johnson

On the fifth day of December I decided to conform to the date by adding to the list with a number five, and a massive talisman number five at that. Reda Johnson is a man of many talents, and showcased them very well in his two year spell with us between 2014 and 2016, when he wasn't injured that is. His problem with keeping match fit was the main reason we were able to sign him but ultimately was also his downfall with us.

Having a player who can bag a brace on his debut is one thing, having a defender do it is something else, but that's exactly what happened at Bradford away in August 2014. Mind you we still lost 3-2 thanks to a 91st minute winner, making both redundant, but it's still a good feat nonetheless. In fact his rock solid defensive performances were one of the contributing factors to us staying up that campaign. Maddison's late winner at Crawley might have helped a bit as well to be fair.

Going into the 15/16 season we had the best defence in the league, no question. Jordan Willis, Sam Ricketts, Reda Johnson and Chris Stokes, with the likes of Aaron Phillips, Aaron Martin and Ryan Haynes as back up, certainly nothing to be sniffed at. Once Willis got injured and was out for the season four games in things started to go fully wrong, we were still coping but Reda was working as hard as possible and that took its toll on someone as injury prone as he is. 

At Blackpool at home he went in for a tackle and came out on the wrong end, I believe at the hands of Kwame Thomas. We were dealt with the news that he'd be out for the season a day or two later, and I'd hate to say it, this definitely was one of the main reasons we went down the pan. Especially when his quick fix replacement Ben Turner suffered a very similar injury. This was only around October, and he still had the whole remainder of the season left on his contract, but his story didn't end there.

In April of that season he appeared in the Derby County away end with his old club Sheffield Wednesday and received some completely undeserved stick from a group of City fans, more than likely because we lost 2-0 at Doncaster that weekend. He had every right to tell this group where to go but instead went the extra mile and invited all fans for a coffee at Starbucks in the centre of Coventry. I had a free evening so popped along and he was honest about everything and answered all questions put to him. Then a couple of days later he came up to singer's corner for our final game of the season against none other than Sheffield United. His fan interaction and his close to 1 in 4 goals to games ratio is what put him on the list.

"Reda Johnson Baby, Reda Johnson Ohhh"

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