Oh Andy….

Today, Andy Johnson officially signed for QPR on a two year contract, leaving Fulham after four seasons of patchy service. Tim has a great run down of Andy’s impact at Fulham from earlier this year here, albeit with some not particularly glowing conclusions.

So what will we remember of Andy’s time at Fulham? Signed in the summer of 2008, Johnson represented the new beginning for Fulham under Roy Hodgson. Having been rescued from imminent disaster, Hodgson was putting his mark on the team by rebuilding the strike force and it was certainly made in his image – both Zamora and Johnson were hard grafters with a built in team ethic contributing to a new Fulham line up based on defensive solidity. This limited the attacking output for both players (AJ had a relatively meagre haul of 7 goals in his first term and Zamora became a fan scapegoat) yet Fulham finished the season in their highest ever position with both strikers gaining plaudits as the ‘hardest working strike partnership in the league’.

Unfortunately for AJ, this represented the high point in his Fulham career. Badly injured in an early Europa League game by a horrific tackle from an Amkar Perm player, Johnson was ruled our for a long period managed only 8 games in the league before injuring his knee and being ruled out for the season. He was never able to build upon his first solid season and missed out on the now mythical Fulham Europa League campaign that changed the fortunes of so many players – Gera, Zamora and Baird to name a few. This is the part of the problem with AJ. He was brought in as part of the rebuild but ended up missing the pinnacle of the Hodgson era and was never taken to heart by the Fulham faithful. Yes we chanted his name, but it seemed more because of his positive attitude and hard running than actual affection.

Which leads me on to the second part of the problem with AJ – his output. He is a classic English poacher, always ‘running the channels’, ‘pulling defenders out of position’ and all those other classic phrases from the English footballing lexicon. The problem was, he rarely achieved anything significant. Two more attacking managers have since come to Fulham and Johnson has only ever been a peripheral figure. Perhaps his greatest Fulham moment was scoring a hattrick in October against QPR. At that point it looked as though he might have turned a corner but he quickly fell back into not scoring before injury claimed most of his season.

So ultimately, he was the high profile striker who failed to deliver the goods. We should not overlook his role in our highest ever finish, but injury and poor form never allowed him to improve. No Fulham fans will be mourning his departure, with initial reaction seemingly one of mirth that QPR is his destination. He might just be a shrewd signing for them though – assuming the role that he was brought to Fulham for initially: an experienced player who can help make the team a solid outfit after a very close shave with relegation.

Born in the US, raised in the UK and now living in London, Alex has been following Fulham since the late 90s and is a current season ticket holder. Part time Football Manager addict.

12 thoughts on “Oh Andy….

  1. What a lot of bollocks!!!! I’m no AJ fan but he knew where the net was, he was adored by ffc fans till 20 minutes ago and I’m not quite sure where ffc go now…seems like players are happy to leave but not so keen to join and play under jol!!

    1. Who was he adored by?

      He knew where the net was. Steve Kelly knows where the net is, too. Neither have put the ball in it very often.

      Ultimately being healthy is a skill and Johnson just can’t earn his money. He’s not prolific and I’ve never really worked out whether ‘running the channels’ actually achieves anything. With zonal marking it seems to me that defences just pass him along to the next man.

      Nice bloke and a player I’ll miss but we can’t pretend it’ll affect the team because it won’t.

    2. Also: players over 30 who earn good money aren’t so keen to play for Jol presumably because Jol (or the powermongers above him) aren’t offering them a deal designed to make them want to stay…

    3. I am glad you have managed to combine AJ’s leaving with a poorly attempted character assassination of Jol – It shows where you are coming from.

      AJ did not score many goals. When he did, they were against lowly opposition in the early stages of the europa league, in the fa cup or against QPR.

      I have nothing against AJ, and wish him well, but lets not use the fact that he played for us and always tried hard to cover for the fact he was not very good and certainly not worth the £8-10m Fulham paid for him.

  2. It’s a meh from me too.

    By all accounts a nice guy and definitely a worker but he grossly underachieved for the fee we paid. Partly due to injuries of course but as he gets older he’s unlikely to get fitter or more durable.

    What matters of course is who we sign this summer but I’ll be hoping for better than AJ.

  3. Spot on Alex, much as I admired AJ’s workrate and contribution it wouldn’t have made any sense to renew his contract. I’m sure Andy’s got a much better deal out of QPR than we’d have given him and good luck to him.

    1. I agree. One of AJ’s assets was his pace which is now declining, while the inventory above of his limitations can’t be denied. A shame that a player who cost £8-10 million should leave for nothing.

      In character and attitude he was a player we were comfortable with. One observation of his technique which I wish more of our players would copy: when attacking down the right wing his crosses would usually be aimed just behind square, along the ground. They invariably found their target and wrong footed defenders. Simple but effective.

      Good luck AJ, but the right decision for the club.

  4. I think we probably looked more dangerous when he and zamora played together and I guess thats what Hughes wants, but we have never been prolific scorers even with these two on form. But whatever you think, he didn’t really repay what we paid for him and for a manager that is trying to reduce the age of the team, it made good sense to let him go. I wish him all the best… in the Championship. :-)

  5. I thought he looked tremendous when he came back at the start of the second season until he was ‘banjoed’ by the Amkar Perm centre half. For me there were parallels with Jimmy Bullard, he too was looking very good for the opening games of the season, suffered a bad injury, eventually came back but whilst there were good moments was never quite as good.

    Good luck to AJ at Rangers, a bit bemusing that the partnership with Zamora that didn’t really work at Fulham has been recreated a few miles down the road.

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