David ‘Magic’ Johnson – another view

It seems that my ‘would they fit in now’ articles have got a few fans interested, with lots of feedback on one of the players I featured last week; David Johnson.

If you missed it, you can recap here, but the comments and feedback has been really good. Friend of the blog and life-long City fan Jon Battersby has taken the time to drop me an email with his recollections of Johnson, as well as the next two players who we’re going to feature later in the week.

Here is JB’s recollection of the man we signed from Sheffield Wednesday for £32,500.

Looking back, I’m never quite sure where David Johnson earned his “magic” middle name, however I do recall the striker with a certain degree of fondness from the early to mid Nineties and his knack of scoring in the big games, which probably earned him that title from City fans desperate to see him do well.

A tall, bustling, no-nonsense Yorkshireman but with relatively quick feet, he had a habit of scoring some important and memorable goals for Lincoln City, even if he once again, proved not to be the elusive striker that City so desperately needed to even reach double figures for a season and fire them up the table.

Great kit combo that

Would he fit into today’s City side? I’m not so sure. He was an intelligent player, but drifted in and out of games far too much for me, even though he had flashes of brilliance and could take a penalty. I think his lack of consistency would consign him to being a bench warmer, or even “super sub” in any of Danny Cowley’s sides if he got the chance, which would be a shame as he had undoubted talent in the six-yard box if he had the service.
Maybe though, he would have thrived from the likes of Bruno or Harry on the wings, or that threaded pass from someone like Danny Rowe in the number 10 position, I don’t know. It’s hard to say, as we probably relied too much on ace winger David Puttnam for pretty much everything going forward in Johnson’s day.

Maybe I’m being a little unfair as he played in some very transitional sides during his three years at the club in the early Nineties and let’s face it, I’d defy anyone to get into double figures if you were being served from midfield by the likes of Trevor Hebberd and Steve Foley, two of the worst I’ve ever seen turn out in Lincoln City colours under the tenure of Sam Ellis.

Whilst I don’t quite revere his memorable goals in the same vein as those from say Nathan or Raggs and Rheady in our more recent past, I’m still eternally grateful to him for scoring a very late winner at home in the FA Cup against Huddersfield in 1994, which in turn silenced some very, let’s say vociferous, Huddersfield fans who’d somehow infiltrated the Echo stand next to me, instantly shutting them up. A priceless moment in an era of not many great moments, so just for that I’d have him in our expanded match day squad as a useful impact player.


  1. The ‘Magic’ moniker came about as Magic Johnson was the world’s top basketball player at the time, simple as that!

  2. I think ‘flashes of brilliance’ is right. He had the ability to get to the byline on the edge of the penalty area and deliver a devastating right wing cross but otherwise he was too often a disappointment in goalscoring positions. Also, for a big man he wasn’t great in the air which I think was why John Beck soon shipped him out.

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