Andy Johson, Free Agent (To Be)

Twitter and the messageboards blew up today when it was “reported” that Danny Murphy, Andy Johnson, and several others were released.

As nuance is never social media’s strong point, the list everyone was referring to (as can be seen here) was simply a list of every play who is out of contract at the end of the season. If we were to apply it to American sport, it would simply be a team’s list of unrestricted, restricted, etc free agents. Or, if anyone works in a field that utilizes a lot of seasonal workers (like I do), it’s simply everyone that is out of contract at X-date.

So this list is not an admission of Fulham saying Murphy et al will be released. Or be resigned. Or given a cookie. Just a statement of fact that’s probably required in the Premier League’s bylaws.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, just who is out of contract anyway?

Richard Michael Barroilhet (Who?)
Jonathan Graham Cosgrove (Again, who?)
Grygera Zdenek (Not surprising)
Courtney Harris (Hmm, name sorta sounds familiar…)
Andrew Johnson (Yay!)
Daniel Ben Murphy (His middle name is Ben? Why hasn’t he gone by D.B. Murphy? D. Ben? Danny B?)
Pavel Viktorovich Pogrebnyak (Eh)
Bjorn Helge Semundseth Riise (Wait, he has another name??)

Outside of Danny Murphy, losing any of these players would elicit nothing more than a shrug (though, Pogrebnyak deserves his own post arguing the pros/cons of extended his loan deal).  But in the case of Andy Johnson, I really hope he’s gone. Like, right now.

Rich wrote about his goal-scoring “feats“, but I especially liked this wonderful nugget:

AJ’s goals have come against Wigan, Newcastle, Spurs, Sheffield Wednesday, Kettering, Portsmouth, West Brom, Bolton, FK Vetra, Amkar Perm, Wigan, Villa, Wolves, NSI Runavik, Crusaders, Split, Twente, Odense and QPR.

Add Wisła Kraków to that list, (scored against them in Fulham’s home fixture, which occurred after Rich’s post was written. It’s also the last goal he’s scored for the club) and you basically have the ROI on a 10 million quid player. If that’s not enough, below are charts of his league playing time each season since he’s been at the club. (Note: I excluded the Europa League and other cup competitions as it skews the data. If you wish to see how he fared in each of those, go here.)

Now, if we just assume that each team averages about 4 matches per month, and each match is 90 minutes, a decent, if not forgiving, benchmark for a starting forward would be 300 minutes played (comes out to 75 minutes per game), no?

Well, as you can clearly see he’s met that benchmark just once since his inaugural season. He’s cracked 200+ minutes in just 9 of the last 30 season months. It must be said though that he actually did participate in this season’s Europa League, playing in every qualifier and 5 of the 6 group stage matches. Though, he missed the finale against Odense due to a red card received the match before at Twente. Hmph.

It’s one thing to not renew a forward’s contract because he cannot score goals; or just goals against lowly opposition. It’s another to not renew because said player couldn’t even get on the field because of continual and various injuries.

Tim Gelles is a writer for Craven Cottage Newsround. A Fulham fan since 2006 when he saw Fulham defeat an Iain Dowie led Charlton. He resides in Baltimore. E-mail him or follow him on twitter.

8 thoughts on “Andy Johson, Free Agent (To Be)

  1. I don’t know why people keep mentioning Pogrebnyak’s “loan deal”. Pogrebnyak was not on loan at Fulham, he was on a short-term contract that expires this summer. He had no remaining attachment to Stuttgart once he moved to Fulham.

    As for the free transfer list, names that caught my eye include Emile Heskey (but only because his middle names are “William Ivanhoe”), Jussi Jaaskelainen (if we need a backup keeper), Gretar Steinsson (no-fee option if Grygera leaves and we want cover at right back), Jose Bosingwa (or a new starting right back), Salomon Kalou (wages probably out of our range though), Craig Gordon (another backup GK option), Ledley King (somehow only 31, seems like he’s been around for decades), and Hugo Rodallega (only 26 years old, was a decent scorer in 2009-10 and 2010-11). Overall it’s a pretty unimpressive bunch though.

  2. I suspect we’ll offer short term deals to Danny & Grygera who are both older players who have proved they can do a job. Danny especially, we’re just not the same team without him. I also expect to see us offer Pavel an longer term deal, the 6 month deal was always due to work permit issues and I would have thought we’d have resolved those by now. He may never hit the heights of those first 3 or 4 games again but he’s decent squad material if nothing else.

  3. i know this isn’t relevant to this post per se, but with rumors swirling for dempsey and dembele we should use that money to invest in more youth studs.

    what is the contract status of ethuhu and sidwell? both of those players i think are expendable as i think kasami and grecov need a run next year.

    back on topic, we need to find a way to keep murphy. we should sign him to some sort of player coach contract as i think keeping him at the club is in our best near and long-term future goals.

  4. Tim, seeing as you live in Baltimore, I can’t resist using a reference to “The Wire” to sum up AJ whenever he was through on goal with only the keeper to beat. “Equivocatin’ like a motherf***er”.

  5. Great post, Timmy. Dare I say it, but it shows how far you can get in the game by being good once then running around a lot when that passes. I feel downright evil writing this – he does seem like a nice bloke – but what with big wages and all, he’s an absolute drain on teh club’s resources.

  6. While we all agree that AJ was not what was hoped when he was signed, it could be worse…Steve Marlet.

    And not to do with anything, but being in the States and not really giving a hoot about England and their chances in Euro 2012, I checked in to see how Moussa would play against them…and if he is gone from these parts I will truly miss his play on the field. That Chadli bloke Fulham’s been linked to didn’t look half bad either. Dare I say that the Belgian side looked eerily familiar what with their pleasing to the eye passing but struggles to capitalize on said buildup play in the final 3rd?

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