AJ

The papers are suggesting that our channel working hitman is interesting other clubs. Should we let him go?

If you’ve read this site for any amount of time you’ll know that I’m not convinced by Johnson who, for all his admirable work, lacks the pace he’s famous for and doesn’t seem to have the eye for goal we need from him.  This is to ignore his injury issues I appreciate, but there we are.

I always used to wonder how good certain players would look if they were forced to drop down a division. Just as some Championship players could play (and thrive) in the faster company of the top league, if only they were given the chance, I believe that a number of top league players would not really stand out in the Championship.  I used to think this about Philip Neville but confess to having probably been wrong about that.

Nevertheless, at this juncture, if aliens sent scouts to watch AJ and Robert Earnshaw in action, would they clearly be able to identify the expensive Premier League forward?  I don’t think they would, but I could be wrong here.  And just out of interest, here are both of their career records:

Earnshaw
Club Division Apps Goals ~age
2003-04 Cardiff C 46 21 22
2004-05 Cardiff C 4 1 23
2004-05 WBA P 31 11 23
2005-06 WBA P 12 1 24
2005-06 Norwich C 15 8 24
2006-07 Norwich C 30 19 25
2007-08 Derby P 22 1 26
2008-09 Forest C 32 12 27
2009-10 Forest C 34 17 28
2010-11 Forest C 36 9 29

Johnson
Club Division Apps Goals ~age
Palace C 45 28 22
Palace P 37 21 23
Palace C 35 15 24
Everton P 32 11 25
Everton P 29 6 26
Fulham P 31 7 27
Fulham P 8 0 28
Fulham P 24 3 29

Genuine question: are their records that different?  You have the early prolific boom years (AJ scored a lot of penalties in those days back when he really was lightning), then diverging paths.  AJ got stuck in a defensive Fulham side, Earnshaw in a terrible Derby side. Earnshaw went down again and started scoring for fun again, Johnson didn’t.

I have little doubt that Johnson is the better player, not least because (as the saying goes) there’s more to his game than goals, but it’s interesting to have a look at their trajectories and think about where each might be in their careers (NB AJ’s goals per game ratio has got worse every single one of those seasons (until last year) – which probably doesn’t mean anything but might).

2 thoughts on “AJ

  1. Doesn’t Earnshaw still take penalties too? I recently broke down the whole squad on a stay or go basis. AJ ended up with a ‘go’ sticker assuming Fulham can get about £4m for him.

  2. I think AJ is better than Rob Earnshaw but I’m not sure he offers enough to the current Fulham side and if we can get £4 Million for him we should. The tricky thing is finding someone better to take his place.

    Depends a lot on who is manager but I’d like to think if Hughes stays we’ll have a more balanced front line next season.

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