Damien Johnson

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Damien Johnson
Damien Johnson.jpg
Johnson in 2004 pre-season
Personal information
Full name Damien Michael Johnson[1]
Date of birth (1978-11-18) 18 November 1978 (age 40)[1]
Place of birth Lisburn,[1] Northern Ireland
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)[1]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Blackburn Rovers
(professional development phase lead coach)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994–1995 Portadown 3 (0)
1997–2002 Blackburn Rovers 59 (3)
1998Nottingham Forest (loan) 6 (0)
2002–2010 Birmingham City[A] 193 (4)
2010–2012 Plymouth Argyle 20 (2)
2010–2011Huddersfield Town (loan) 16 (0)
2011–2012Huddersfield Town (loan) 18 (0)
2012–2013 Fleetwood Town 22 (0)
Total 334 (9)
National team
1998–1999 Northern Ireland U16 2 (0)
1998–1999 Northern Ireland U17 1 (1)
1998–1999 Northern Ireland U18 2 (0)
1998–1999 Northern Ireland U21 11 (0)
1999–2010 Northern Ireland 56 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Damien Michael Johnson (born 18 November 1978) is a Northern Irish former footballer who is professional development phase lead coach at Blackburn Rovers.

He began his career with Portadown in his native Northern Ireland from whom he signed as a trainee for Blackburn Rovers and spent seven years with the club, as well as spending time on loan with Nottingham Forest. He moved to Birmingham City in 2002, where he spent the next eight seasons and became the club's captain. Johnson was transferred to Plymouth Argyle in 2010, spent the 2010–11 and 2011–12 season on loan to Huddersfield Town, and finished his playing career with Fleetwood Town in 2012–13.

He played for his country at schoolboy and youth levels before representing the Northern Ireland senior team over an eleven-year period, earning 56 caps.[1]

Club career[edit]

Blackburn Rovers[edit]

His first English team was Blackburn Rovers, for whom Johnson signed as a trainee, from Portadown F.C. in 1997, making his debut in the League Cup on 30 September 1997, a 1–0 defeat to Preston North End, in which he picked up a yellow card.

Loaned to Nottingham Forest on 28 January 1998, Johnson played in five games, and, despite accruing a yellow card in his last February appearance, performed well for the team.

Blackburn won the 2002 League Cup Final a few days before Johnson left the club. Despite not being part of the squad for the final Johnson had contributed to a few games earlier in the cup run, including scoring a goal against Manchester City.[2]

Birmingham City[edit]

Having dropped down the pecking order at Blackburn and out of contract at the end of the season, Johnson signed for Championship club Birmingham City on 8 March 2002. The fee was officially undisclosed,[3] but later reported on Birmingham's website as £50,000.[4]

In September 2004, he signed a new three-year contract.[4]

Johnson was named the Birmingham City captain for the 2006–07 season but in one of his first games as captain, he angered fans when he first threw his captain's armband and then his shirt on the floor when he was substituted late on.[5] On 28 October, his jaw was broken in two places after he was elbowed in the face by West Bromwich Albion defender Paul Robinson. Despite the injury, he played on for the remaining 10 minutes of the match.[6] He signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract in December, to run until the end of the 2009–10 season.[7]

At the opening of the 2007–08 season Johnson injured a hamstring in a pre-season friendly. Further injuries followed, and he did not make his first league appearance of the season until 15 December, replacing the suspended Mehdi Nafti.[8][9]

In all Johnson made 216 appearances for Birmingham City,[10] with 150 of those in the Premier League.[11]

Plymouth Argyle[edit]

Johnson joined Championship club Plymouth Argyle on a free transfer on 1 February 2010, signing a two-and-a-half-year contract.[12] Birmingham manager Alex McLeish described him as "always a terrier of a player [who] gave us fantastic commitment ... and played a significant part in us returning to the Premier League", and wished him all the best.[13]

He scored his first goal for Argyle in his fourth appearance, on 16 February against Swansea City, and finished the season with two goals from 20 league matches.[14]

Huddersfield Town[edit]

2010–11 season[edit]

On 5 August 2010, he joined Huddersfield Town on a season-long loan deal with a view to a permanent move.[15] He made his Terriers debut two days later as a late substitute in the 3–0 win over Notts County at Meadow Lane.[16] In December 2010, he suffered a cruciate ligament injury against Brighton which ruled him out for the remainder of the season.[17] Johnson remained at the club until the end of the season to complete his rehabilitation and was nominated for the Player of the Year award. In all, he made 23 appearances.

2011–12 season[edit]

The club confirmed on 18 July 2011 that he was set to sign on another season-long loan deal,[18] which was confirmed the next day. His second debut for the Terriers came in the 3–0 win against Sheffield United at Brammall Lane on 13 September 2011.

Fleetwood Town[edit]

On 7 June 2012, Johnson joined newly promoted Football League Two club Fleetwood Town.[19] Just over a year later, on 9 October 2013, Johnson left the club by mutual consent.[20]

International career[edit]

Johnson earned his first Northern Ireland call up on 29 May 1999, when he came on as a substitute in the 1–0 away win against the Republic of Ireland. Further appearances as substitute followed against Finland, Luxembourg, Malta, and Hungary, before he made his first full appearance versus Yugoslavia at Windsor Park, Belfast, in August 2000.

After a period when his international appearances were restricted by serious injury, Johnson made his 49th appearance for NI in the 3–0 World Cup Qualifying victory in San Marino on 11 February 2009, when he was the BBC's "Man of the Match".

On 29 July 2010, Johnson announced his retirement from international football after making 56 appearances for the team.[21]

Coaching career[edit]

Following his retirement from football, Johnson went into coaching, completing his coaching qualifications and gaining experience assisting at various clubs including Everton.

Blackburn Rovers[edit]

In April 2015, Johnson returned to Blackburn Rovers, the club at which he began his English career, as U14 academy coach.[22] After three months he was appointed U21 lead coach, a post which was redesignated professional development phase lead coach when the development squad began to compete at under-23 level.[23][24]



A. ^ Soccerbase's stats for the match between Derby County and Birmingham City on 9 March 2007 fail to include appearances by substitutes for either side, one of whom was Johnson.[25][26] The correct figure for Birmingham appearances in the League according to the 2010–11 Sky Sports Football Yearbook is 193,[27] which is one more than given on his Soccerbase page.


  1. ^ a b c d e Dewart, Jonny, ed. (12 January 2007). "Damien Johnson". NIFG. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Rovers beat 10-man City". BBC. 28 November 2001. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Blues snap up Johnson". BBC Sport. 8 March 2002. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Jonty signs new deal". Birmingham City F.C. 9 September 2004. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Blues' own captain chaos". Birmingham Post. 21 August 2006. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
    Dunn, Alex (August 2006). "Johnson offers Blues apology". Sky Sports. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
    Tattum, Colin (22 August 2006). "Bruce: Why I'll stick by Johnson". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Birmingham skipper fractures jaw". BBC Sport. 29 October 2006. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
    Tattum, Colin (5 December 2006). "I'll shake Robinson's hand – Johnson". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  7. ^ Tattum, Colin (5 December 2006). "Johnson delighted with new Blues deal". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Johnson suffers fresh injury blow". BBC Sport. 3 October 2007. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  9. ^ Dick, Brian (18 December 2007). "Johnson leads by example in comeback". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  10. ^ Matthews, Tony (2010). Birmingham City: The Complete Record. Derby: Derby Books. pp. 438–455. ISBN 978-1-85983-853-2.
  11. ^ "Damien Johnson". Premier League. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Damien Johnson joins Plymouth from Birmingham City". BBC Sport. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Jonty joins Pilgrims". Birmingham City F.C. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Games played by Damien Johnson in 2009/2010". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  15. ^ "Midfielder Johnson Signs On Loan". Huddersfield Town F.C. 5 August 2010. Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
  16. ^ "Notts County 0–3 Huddersfield". BBC Sport. 7 August 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  17. ^ "Huddersfield midfielder Damien Johnson out for season". BBC Sport. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
  18. ^ "JOHNSON SET FOR RETURN TO HUDDERSFIELD TOWN". htafc.com. 18 July 2011. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  19. ^ "Fleetwood sign Northern Ireland international Damien Johnson". BBC Sport. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  20. ^ "Highbury round-up". Fleetwood Town F.C. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  21. ^ "Damien Johnson calls time on Northern Ireland career". BBC Sport. 29 July 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  22. ^ Wheelock, Paul (1 April 2015). "Damien Johnson returns to Blackburn Rovers in coaching capacity". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  23. ^ "Johnson takes up Under-21 role". Blackburn Rovers F.C. 9 July 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  24. ^ "Backroom staff". Blackburn Rovers F.C. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  25. ^ "Results & Matches on: Fri, 9 Mar 2007". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
  26. ^ "Birmingham 1–0 Derby". BBC Sport. 9 March 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  27. ^ Rollin, Glenda; Rollin, Jack, eds. (2010). Sky Sports Football Yearbook 2010–2011. Headline. p. 508. ISBN 978-0-7553-6107-6.

External links[edit]