Monday, 28 June 2010

63 Ian Johnson

Position : Right back

Played : 1984-85 to 1986-87

Appearances : 81

Goals: 1

Ian was another signing from Chadderton FC but stuck around a bit longer. He was used as a utility defender who could fill in at centre half or either full back position. After 8 appearances in 1984-5, he ended up at least featuring in nearly every game the following season. When we finally offloaded Paul Heaton in the summer of 1986 he at last made the right back position his own.

Unfortunately playing in a much-weakened side exposed his own limitations. He couldn’t read the game and was prone to cock-ups. Both his goals were memorable. The first, in the FA Cup at Nuneaton in 1986, clearly went through a hole in the side netting but I suppose it was their own fault for not keeping their equipment up to scratch. The second opened the scoring in the outstanding 4-2 win at Preston in March 1987. Ian hit a speculative shot from just outside the area. Alan Kelly had it covered but inexplicably (my Preston-supporting friends said it was an old pals act to help Dale’s safety bid in the first year of relegation to the Conference) dropped his hands and saw it sail into the top corner.

Eddie Gray obviously didn’t rate Ian and released him at the end of the season. He went to Altrincham but soon dropped another notch and ended up at Droylsden.

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