Today, the U.S. men’s national team takes on Colombia at Craven Cottage, home to Fulham FC. During the 2000s, Fulham became known as “Fulhamerica” because of its affinity for American talent: Marcus Hahnemann, Eddie Lewis, Carlos Bocanegra, Brian McBride, Kasey Keller, Clint Dempsey, Grown-Ass Man. Cottager games became a weekend hobby for Americans eager to watch the U.S.’s best talent challenge themselves in the self-proclaimed best league in the world.
On this rare but special occasion, it’s only right that we honor one of Fulhamerica’s U.S. legends: one Grown-Ass Man.
In Jan. 2008, Grown-Ass Man (née Eddie Johnson) became Fulham’s latest American toy, joining the club from the the, Kansas City Wizards. It was truly #PeakFulhamAmerica-ness. One could already picture Johnson and Dempsey wearing overalls in the frozen foods section at Sainsbury’s, rhyming about marmite.
At the time, Johnson was still an enigma in U.S. soccer circles. Sometimes he channeled his raw talent and turned out performances that left crowds mesmerized. Other times, Johnson’s play had left crowds wondering what the hype was ever about. But plenty of people were excited to see what kind of trouble he could cause Premier League defenders.
What better time than now to take a walk down memory lane:
Grown-Ass Man’s FULHAM career, in tweets
In early 2008, Edward Abraham Johnson signed with Fulham, turning down interest from Derby County.
It was a beautiful moment, but, as everyone knows, it takes time to settle in England.
But you had to start wondering if he didn’t start having some regrets, because only six months after joining Fulham, Johnson, who hadn’t been able to regularly break into the rotation, was loaned to Cardiff City for the 2008-09 season.
Here’s how that went, per Twitter sources:
But not everything was sadness. There was light in Johnson’s life and a chance for redemption around the corner.
Johnson began the 2009-10 season back with Fulham. This was the prevailing sentiment:
And it turned out the answer, at least for Fulham manager Roy Hodgson, was …
Johnson was shipped over to Greece in Dec. 2009, where he joined Aris Thessaloniki for remainder of 2009-10 season. Johnson actually started to put a run together while in Greece, but it’s never a good sign when this discussion starts happening around an American player in Europe, especially back in 2010 before MLS started throwing serious money at people:
I forgot to mention, Johnson was now teammates with Freddy Adu, which led to things like this …
But all loans must come to an end, and Johnson re-joined Fulham for beginning of 2010-11 season, which meant that Johnson no longer had to fly his barber from London to Greece. Things were looking up.
It seemed that Johnson was ready to fight for his space, for the respect that he felt he deserved.
But whether it was Johnson’s fault or Mark Hughes not knowing how to properly utilize him, the reviews were still far adequate.
But not all the reviews were negative.
And then January rolled around, and Johnson was, once again, on the way out of Craven Cottage, this time on loan to Preston North End.
Six months later, it was all over.
In conclusion, Twitter is pure evil. See you guys on Twitter.