Convicted predator Adam Johnson ‘begging clubs to sign him’ after prison release

Disgraced footballer Adam Johnson, jailed for child sex abuse, has not returned to the professional game since his prison release three years ago.

The former England player was sacked by Sunderland after pleading guilty to sexual activity with a child and child grooming back in 2016, according to the Mirror.

He was found guilty on one further offense of sexual activity with a child and found not guilty on a second count of the same charge at Bradford Crown Court.

Since his release, the 34-year-old has reportedly considered writing to clubs in an effort to restart his football career, despite objections from his family.

There has also been talk of the winger moving abroad in the hopes of finding a new employer.

Johnson won 12 international caps for England.

However, the nature of his conviction means such a path could be complicated.

When Johnson was handed a six-year prison sentence in 2016, the PFA’s then-chief Gordon Taylor cast doubt on the prospect of the player ever summarizing his professional football career.

“I feel that prospect is, to say the least, very remote, if at all,” he told BBC Radio 5 live at the time (via FourFourTwo).

“It’s not unexpected,” Taylor continued. “The judge had said it was a very serious issue and he would be away for quite some time.

“Six years is not unexpected. Our thoughts are very much with the victim in this matter.”

Johnson was released on license in 2019 after serving half of his sentence. Before his release from him, though, reports emerged suggesting he planned to write to clubs in a bid to return to the sport.

As previously reported by the Daily Mirror, Johnson’s sister Faye told a friend: “He was going to write an open letter to all the clubs explaining why he can benefit them if they give him another chance. Genuinely thought he was joking when he told me but he was deadly serious.”

He was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to sexual activity with a child and child grooming.
He was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to sexual activity with a child and child grooming.

The Mail reported in 2019 that League 1 and League 2 clubs within a commuting distance of Johnson’s home in County Durham told the publication they would not consider moving for the disgraced player.

The player bought a property in the village of Castle Eden in 2010 and sold it for £1.75m in 2022.

In his first public statement after his release in 2019, Johnson made a point of expressing his “remorse” for his actions.

However, his father and agent Dave declined to comment when further comments prompted questions from the media about a potential return to professional football.

“I am very sorry for the effect my conduct had on those, directly and indirectly, involved,” Adam Johnson said. “It should never have happened and I deeply regret what I did.

“I now want to concentrate on the future and want to demonstrate through my actions that I am committed to repaying them for their support.”

According to The Sun, the prospect of a move abroad is still on the table.

The England international has become a father again after reuniting with ex-partner Stacey Flounders, and the couple is said to be “considering whether their future lies abroad”.

There had been suggestions Johnson might move overseas in an effort to summarize his career. However, this has been complicated by his conviction.

He is required to inform the police if he plans to travel overseas, while various countries have laws in place requiring individuals to share details of prior convictions if they want to work there and undergo criminal records checks.

As Mirror Football reported in 2019, moves to China, the Middle East, US or Australia had looked to be non-starters

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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