Adam Johnson “Threw Away Glittering Career”


Footballer Adam Johnson told a jury he had “thrown away a glittering career” and it was all his fault.

He said his club Sunderland sacked him on the eve of the trial after he admitted grooming a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

His teammates reacted by “stepping away” from him and refusing to give evidence in his defence, he told Bradford Crown Court.

Johnson said he told the club “everything” after his arrest on 2 March and was suspended, but then allowed to return to the team 16 days later and continue to earn £60,000 a week.

The jury heard the player told the club”s chief executive Margaret Byrne that he had kissed the girl.

His barrister Orlando Pownall QC asked him: “Did Margaret Byrne have a copy of your interview, Whatsapp messages, and did she have transcripts of interviews of the girl and others?”

Johnson replied: “Yes.”

Mr Pownall: “Did you hold back on your guilty pleas for money?”

Johnson: “No, definitely not.”

He told the jury he was not an emotional man, but he felt “absolutely awful” about himself and what had happened to the girl.

He denied he had searched the internet for “the legal age of consent” after sexual activity with the girl in his car on 30 January last year.

He had done it after a dressing room discussion about a TV programme, he said.

Prosecutor Kate Blackwell QC asked if he remembered which programme.

He replied: “Ross Kemp on Gangs – season four started on 22 January.”

He denied the prosecutor”s suggestion that he had been been researching the details.

Johnson denies two charges of sexual activity, touching the girl and engaging in a sex act.

He said they had done nothing more than kiss passionately during a meeting, which he says lasted only around 10 minutes, though she said it went on for up to 40 minutes.

If she was right, he said, he would have been late in catching the team bus to a hotel on the eve of a match and he would have been fined.

He told the jury the club imposed strict fines for being late – £100 for five minutes, £500 for more than 15 minutes.

Players were also fined if they wore a hat during dinner in the team hotel, he said.

The trial continues.