Bradley Paul Johnson (born 28 April 1987) is an English professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Championship club Blackburn Rovers.
Born in Hackney, Greater London, Johnson was a keen motorcyclist as a child:
"Bradley Johnson came to Norfolk as an 11-year-old with motorcycle stunt group The Imps, who performed at the 1996 Royal Norfolk Show. He was the one at the top of the pyramid."
His childhood was marked by "getting into scrapes and "kicked out" of school". Johnson started his career at his boyhood team Arsenal but was released by the club when he was 15 years old.
After leaving Arsenal, he made several appearances for Waltham Forest F.C., in the Ryman Division 1 North. He then joined the youth ranks at Cambridge United and after breaking into the first team he then moved to league club Northampton Town, where he signed on 16 May 2005. During his time at the club he was sent out on loan twice, playing for Gravesend & Northfleet and Stevenage Borough. Following the appointment of Stuart Gray as Northampton manager, Johnson featured in practically every single starting eleven that he named and he signed a new two-year contract extension.
Johnson began to attract attention from a host of Championship sides, including Coventry City, Colchester United and Queens Park Rangers, but was in talks to sign for Leicester City, after discussing terms at the Walkers Stadium on 2 January 2008. However, the player returned to the Sixfields Stadium, having failed to reach an agreement with the club.
Johnson playing for Leeds United in 2011
Two days later, Leeds United confirmed reports that they had been given permission from Northampton to speak to Johnson, regarding a contract. He went on to sign a three-and-a-half-year deal for £250,000 after undergoing a medical at the club's Thorp Arch training ground on 8 January 2008.
Johnson made his first appearance for Leeds on 14 January 2008 in their league fixture against Crewe Alexandra at the Alexandra Stadium. He scored his first goal for the club at Elland Road in a fixture against Bournemouth on 8 March. Johnson played for Leeds in the League 1 playoff final against Doncaster Rovers at Wembley, but was on the losing side as Leeds lost 1–0.
After struggling to get a first team place under manager Gary McAllister due to the emergence of Fabian Delph, Johnson joined League One rivals Brighton & Hove Albion on loan until 3 January 2009. Johnson scored twice on his debut during the 3–2 victory over Leicester City. Johnson scored four goals in 10 matches on loan at Brighton before returning to his parent club Leeds United, now with a new manager, Simon Grayson. Johnson found himself back in the first team picture as Leeds reached the playoff semi finals against Millwall.
In November 2010, Johnson turned down the offer of a new three-year deal at Leeds United. Manager Simon Grayson initially confirmed Johnson had rejected a new contract but said that contract negotiations with Johnson would still be ongoing despite his refusal of the first contract offer. On 18 November, Johnson was transfer listed by Leeds after rejecting a final contract offer. Johnson was linked with Premiership clubs Bolton Wanderers and Stoke City A war of words between Chairman Ken Bates and Johnson ensued, Bates claimed that Johnson was not answering his calls. Johnson claimed he only wanted parity with other players for his wage demands. On 13 January 2011, despite Johnson being on the transfer list, manager Simon Grayson revealed that he wouldn't be able to sell Johnson unless a replacement had been brought in beforehand. On 18 January, Johnson scored his sixth goal of the season in an FA Cup Third Round Replay against Arsenal at Elland Road, a goal which later won Leeds' goal of the season award.
Despite ongoing negotiations with Leeds, Johnson was unable to agree a new contract and on 1 July 2011 signed a three-year deal with Norwich City. He was handed squad number 4, which was vacated by Matthew Gill when he was released by the club. Johnson made his Norwich debut in the club's first home match of the Premier League season. Johnson scored his first Norwich goal against Bolton Wanderers on 17 September 2011 at the Reebok Stadium with a "classy header".
Johnson's second season with Norwich was successful as he managed to play regularly for the club. Johnson caught the headlines against Everton for his repeated tangles with midfielder Marouane Fellaini, most notably for cutting Fellaini's leg open with a kick. Norwich finished the season in 11th place, and Johnson's performances in guaranteeing both survival and a respectable mid-table finish led to him being picked 3rd for the Player of the Season, voted by the fans.
After an up-and-down 2013/14 season, Johnson had a widely praised performance against Tottenham on 23 February, where he was awarded Barclays Man of the Match. He assisted the only goal of the match with a cutting ball to Robert Snodgrass, and almost scored when his 100 mph free-kick thundered against the crossbar and onto the line.
He scored his first goal of the 2014/15 Championship season on 16 August against Watford at home. It was to be one of his most successful seasons with the club: He was made vice-captain behind Russell Martin and appeared in 44 of the 46 league matches (including one appearance as a substitute). He scored fifteen goals, making him the second highest scorer behind Cameron Jerome, and was voted the fans' Player of the Year. His last two goals for Norwich came in the final match of the regular Championship season as Norwich beat Fulham 4–2 to set-up a play-off semi-final with local rivals Ipswich Town. Johnson also played in the team which beat Middlesbrough 2–0 to win the play-off final and earn promotion to the Premier League.
With Norwich now in the Premier League, Johnson played in the opening match of the 2015–16 season, a 3–1 defeat to Crystal Palace, but failed to start the next three league matches. However, he did captain the side to a 2–1 win over Rotherham United in the Capital One Cup. His last match for the club was an appearance as a 70th-minute substitute in a 3–0 defeat to Southampton on 30 August.
Johnson signed for Derby County for a club record £6 million on transfer deadline day on 1 September 2015. He caused some amusement when he referred to his new club as Derby 'City' instead of 'County' live on a BBC news report. Johnson later apologised, putting it down to tiredness and the speed at which everything had happened that day. On 26 September, he scored his first goal for the club in a 3–1 win over Milton Keynes Dons. On 26 November 2016 Johnson scored against his former club Norwich City – Derby won the match 1–0.
Former Youth Teams
Former Senior Teams
Former Club Staff