New Ebbsfleet United signing Matt Johnson hopes home supporters get to enjoy his best season to date following the 24-year-old’s move from Bishop’s Stortford.
After an award-winning season at the ProKit UK Stadium, Johnson told FleetOnline that he hopes to push on and help his new club to promotion. So what can Fleet fans expect from their new midfielder?
“I wouldn’t like to say that I’m either an attacking or defensive midfielder. I like to think I have the energy to be an all-round player that gets up and down the pitch. The fans can expect a few goals from me, decent delivery from wide areas and dead balls – and 100% effort every game.”
Johnson arrives off the back of a season that saw Bishop’s Stortford illuminate Skrill South early on but gradually fade from play-off contention. He enjoyed the settled spell he had with the Blues – following a solid season in the Conference Premier with Rushden & Diamonds – but felt the Fleet was a move he couldn’t turn down.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Stortford,” Johnson explained. “The manager Rod Stringer, who I had previously played for, allowed me a certain freedom on the football pitch to express myself and play the way I wanted to play. That definitely helped me play some great football for the club and it showed through some of the success we had last season.
“Confidence in football is so important and at the time of beating Ebbsfleet 3-2, the boys were on a winning run and the belief in the camp was that we could beat any team put in front of us. Then of course the long absence of football caused by the weather never helps and the pitches changed dramatically as a result of that. I think we missed out on the play-offs due to a culmination of things: tired legs from a small squad, we had eight or nine red cards which led to a lot of suspensions so we had that to deal with, and that led to a lack of belief and the style of football that we had to adapt to because of the conditions of the pitches after February.”
Johnson’s performances in the two games against the Fleet (pictured above) caught the eye of Steve Brown and come the close season, the feelers were put out to see whether the midfielder would be interested in crossing the river. “I told the club straight away that I would be and everything fell into place from there,” Johnson recalled. “There were a few phone calls and texts back and forth and eventually everything was agreed and we managed to get it signed when I returned from holiday.
“I knew a few of the boys (Shane Huke, Micky Corcoran and Billy Bricknell) from previous clubs that I had played at so I was well aware of the quality that the Ebbsfleet team had. I had spoken to the lads and they all assured me what a great club it was and how ambitious it was, which is something that really sold it to me. After speaking with the gaffer and hearing how professional the training and approach to the game was going to be, I knew I wanted to be a part of that.”
Johnson’s hopes are high for the coming season, though he knows his new side will have plenty of challengers in the hunt for promotion. “Bromley are a club who narrowly missed out last season and I know they will be desperate to come back even stronger this season, along with Dartford who are a big club coming down from the Premier. There will always be one or two surprises as well so it will be interesting to see how the season unfolds – and hopefully we can come out on top of that.”
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