by • October 27, 2015 • NewsComments (15)9455

There has been a significant amount of debate regarding what Adam Johnson may or may not have intended with his goal celebration and subsequent gestures to Newcastle United supporters on Sunday but developments today mean we should close the book on this.

It has been stated here repeatedly that Johnson was abused continually on Sunday and that he may have good cause to be wounded by the nature and persistence of that abuse. I’m of the opinion that if we as a group of fans (or any group of fans for that matter) dish it out we shouldn’t cry-arse on if the target of any abuse reacts. I think we’ve said this previously when Sunderland fans have abused our own players (Joey Barton springs to mind) though there are lines that should not be crossed by players and I still believe it was justified to ask what he was up to with his celebration and pose the difficult questions no matter how uncomfortable anyone finds them or any other consideration etc. There is an issue of freedom of speech.

Today I was contacted by part of Sunderland AFC’s executive team who were insistent Johnson did not mean anything in Johnsonreference to MH17 following his goal celebration when he ran from one end of the stadium to the other. They told me they were speaking on his behalf and that he has denied that was his intention.

We have asked that such a clarification be made and it has been. So, on that basis we accept that and the matter is closed as far as we are concerned here.

Obviously I think it would have been preferable for Johnson to have made that statement publicly himself but I’d guess considerations regarding media management and the potential to attract the censure of the Premier League regarding his overall conduct led Sunderland to handle matters this way. It might be a bit clinical but there you go.

It’s ironic today that as the Red card given to Coloccini is rescinded United is charged with a failure to control its players on a day when Johnson’s taunts should have attracted a booking and once again Sunderland supporters invade the pitch but that isn’t picked up by the Premier League and apparently has not appeared in the Referee’s report. The less said about the referee in the circumstances the better.

Further I was assured by Sunderland AFC that they are dealing with those of their fans whose vile tweets were featured here and elsewhere. That reflects well on Sunderland AFC and I’m sure most supporters will be encouraged by their response.

So, we regard the matter as being at an end and as such we have edited the weekly Podcast that is now available for you to listen to.

That is all.

Michael Martin, Editor, true faith, Newcastle United Fanzine. 


Related Posts


  1. Chris Nappin says:

    I’ve just watched Match of the Day there and it does look pretty dodgy how he winds his arms up and down towards the end of the run which does look decidedly aeroplaney. If he did mean it then he’s likely to have denied it to the club exec team, if they have even questioned him at all. They’re hardly going to say, ‘aye we’ve talked to him, he did mean it at the time but he probs just got carried away in the moment cos youse were all giving him jip’. It’s an auto-response by the club, but what else was it ever going to be? There’s nowt else we can do but accept it, but it may be difficult to draw a line under it because he’s become a major distraction for our fans in relation to the derby defeats. That will subside over the next few weeks and hopefully in March we can end this horrific run and forget about him

  2. Ian C says:

    Agree with the comments in the article. If Mr Johnson finds himself guilty in February the nearest he will be to the next Derby is listening to the radio in his cell. Maybe then he can have time to reflect on what he actually did mean with THAT celebration.

    I know there’s a sentiment of innocent until proven guilty but can you tell me another profession in which he would have been allowed to continue to pole his trade until this matter was resolved? Two high profile actors from Coronation Street were suspended until their trials came to an end…….

  3. Andrew says:

    Johnson has made a pre meditated decision to respond to the away supporters, and he’s quite obviously doing something which most people would recognize as an “aeroplane gesture”.

    He’s not exactly of unquestionable character and he’s played in Manchester derbies, where he will have been aware of gestures like that being used in a fairly similar context and with the most tasteless meaning possible.

    It’s not at all surprising that some people will have assumed the worst about his motivations, and I don’t think it was at all unreasonable to ask for clarification on what it was that he was doing.

  4. Steve K says:

    I don’t think for a second he meant to make any reference to MH17, I think we just need to move on re that point. He was however clearly wanting to put 2 fingers up to our fans. Guess we can’t blame him for that either but it is surely something the FA can see if they are going back to look at the game. The sooner we can stop talking about this game the better I would say though.

  5. sobs says:

    you’ve seen celebrate in identical style over the last few years – and in the same style as your own players have done – and said nowt. No story, nothing to talk about.

    • Hi, I’m going to respond to your comment out of respect for you, Martyn and A Love Supreme.

      As far as the matter stands I regard it as closed and that is evidently explained as above. However to suggest the matter should never have even been raised and that Johnson’s celebration was normal, identical to what he has done previously in his career and similar to what players at other clubs have done ignores several factors:

      1. Johnson does not routinely run to the opposite end of the ground to celebrate his goals when he is surrounded on 3 sides by his own club’s fans.

      2. Johnson does not routinely have good cause to be wound up by opposing fans who relentlessly abused him during the game and not for the first time. If he wanted to goad those who had taunted him so much he would have absolutely justified.

      3. Have a look at the footage of the celebration, particularly when he gets into the NUFC half of the pitch and tell me that doesn’t look like an aeroplane action.

      4. Let’s acknowledge for all the sick nature of their comments several Sunderland “fans” via twitter made an interpretation of his actions in regard to MH17 so this is not an exclusively NUFC fans or true faith version of events. You will also see for all they later published a retraction, The Telegraph made reference and there is also a mention of it in Louise Taylor’s match report in The Guardian. Louise Taylor is NOT a Newcastle United supporter.

      However, Johnson has stated via a third party at SAFC that he meant no reference to MH17. That has been accepted by the father of Liam Sweeney, Newcastle United and I accept it too.

      But the hysteria from some on the Sunderland side to even having the question asked is ill-judged though I can understand the sensitivity of their supporters and the club itself given the admirable way it has responded as an institution and as a group of fans following the MH17 for which they have been applauded by this fanzine and many others over an extended period.

      Personally, I regard the matter closed but I can’t control anyone else wanting the last word on the subject.

  6. Iain says:

    I feel AJ definitely never had any intention of showing disrespect to those two fans that sadly died on the MH17 flight.

    On another note I’ve heard NUFC fans singing about the Munich disaster when playing away to Manchester United.

    • john rush says:

      Sunderland football club deserve credit for contacting true faith direct and rightly condemning the disgusting posts mocking the mh17 disaster by some of their fans. However if the sunderland fans posting on here wonder why some of us wont let it lie it is because of the paradox of this ” move along, nothing happened , nothing to see here attitude” displayed by their messages and yet they are fully aware some of their fans are posting messages bigging up “aj’s” celebration and giving it a name relating to a tragedy which killed over 200 innocent people. Then we get gary r posting a link to a website for people who are suffering bereavement from suicide or have suicidal i missing something or is suicide now also supposed to be funny? When a sunderland fan comes on here and condemns those who mocked the mh17 disaster then i will let it lie. Unfortunately speaking to other newcastle fans this week a lot of the great work done last year to stop the poson between the two sets of fans is being undone because of this incident.

    • john rush says:

      Your second point is already acknowledged in thru black and white eyes. We hold our hands up that we have a minority of dickheads who follow our team

  7. Kenny says:

    You say the subject is closed and yet still rant on about it. you say you can’t control anyone wanting the last word yet leave the article open to comment.
    Accusing the Sunderland side of hysteria. laughable.

  8. Gary R says:

    Articulate, dignified, classy, mature; Geordies.

  9. Jim Myton says:

    The matter should be closed as far as Johnson is concerned, not the sharpest tool in the box. He may have been involved in the game for Man City when Adebayor similarly goaded the Arsenal fans, can’t remember the timeline, which is the closest example I can think of to what he did on Sunday. Sad that a once genuinely exciting prospect only seems to warrant press attention for a pending court case or an ill-advised ‘goal’ celebration (putting the ball past Elliot from 12 yards stretches the definition of a goal in my view, I’d rather his long range effort had gone in, a rare moment of quality in the game).

    What can’t be so easily closed is what happens to the cretins who posted the comments you highlighted. You have been at pains to point out the contributions made by SAFC fans in the aftermath of MH17, and have intimated a greater respect between the sets of fans as a result. We all know that what goes into the ether from seemingly anonymous accounts can be cowardly bile written by people who think there will be no come back.

    With something like this there has to be and I hope SAFC do everything they can to lift up the stone these people crawled out from and push them firmly back under and, if the appropriate authorities become alerted, they are denied the oxygen of whatever forums they use to peddle their filth.

    All clubs have the moron element. As you have pointed out the chants directed at Johnson were pretty vile and no doubt prompted his actions so neither set of fans has exactly covered themselves in glory.

  10. Jarra mick says:

    As I have said for a long time footballers generally be there sunderland, newcastle, Liverpool etcetera etcetera are a horrible breed. they are brought up in a closeted world where they are continually being fawned over . If someone is there to tell you every thing you say and do is fine then how are they expected to develop a moral compass? I think Johnson falls neatly into this category. With regards to his impending court case he is of course innocent until proven wealthy and I am sure in due course he will be totally exonerated of any wrong doing, a la Gerard. This celebration incident just about sums him up.