Back in the summer transfer window of 2017, Championship side Aston Villa sealed a deal to bring goalkeeper Sam Johnstone back to the Midlands giants.
The 25-year-old had spent the second half of the 2016/17 campaign on loan at Villa Park and impressed to the point that Steve Bruce sought to re-sign the Englishman, which he did on loan again for the entirety of the 2017/18 campaign.
And, given his solid spell between the sticks earlier in the year, there were unsurprisingly many delighted Villa fans on Twitter in the aftermath of Johnstone’s arrival, with many clearly excited at the prospect of him turning out for their team once again…
That is good news!
— Richard Burkimsher (@RichardBurkimsh) July 14, 2017
welcome back Sam to the best club in the world. Villa till I Die
— BobV3 (@BobVee3) July 14, 2017
Thank god for that
— Jake (@NooneAVFC) July 14, 2017
Great signing one problem position solved
— Pete Fenny (@FennyPete) July 14, 2017
— Ashton (@peteashton1) July 14, 2017
SUPER SAMMY JOHNSTONE
Welcome home Sam #UTV
— Mr. Jones (@jonesy73) July 14, 2017
— Mikey Hawthorne (@MikeyTheBikey82) July 14, 2017
And while they were unable to bring the goalkeeper back to Villa Park for a third spell during the most recent close season, there is little doubting that those Villans supporters were absolutely right to laud the addition of the Englishman two years ago.
Ultimately, the 25-year-old was never likely to command regular first team football at parent club Manchester United, having come up through the youth ranks at Old Trafford, and that has been made pretty clear throughout his career given he has spent much time away on loan at clubs down the EFL.
Before his first spell at Villa in 2017, Johnstone had played his football at Preston North End, Doncaster Rovers, Yeovil Town, Walsall, Scunthorpe United, and Oldham Athletic, but he made the step up to regular Championship football when moving to Villa Park initially in January of 2017.
And it’s fair to say that he didn’t look out of place in appearing in 21 games for Bruce’s side as they finished 13th in the Championship table, with his efforts prompting the Villa boss to re-sign the shot-stopper in time for their promotion push in 2017/18.
And Johnstone certainly played his part in helping the Villans challenge in the upper echelons of the second tier in keeping 20 clean sheets and shipping just 41 goals in 45 league appearances, before then keeping two further clean sheets as Bruce’s men reached the play-off final, only to lose 1-0 to Fulham at Wembley.
Nonetheless, it’s clear that Johnstone did his bit between the sticks to help the Midlands giants to the cusps of a return to the top-flight, but failing to achieve promotion meant that they faced a battle to lure him back to Villa Park ahead of the current campaign – Midlands rivals West Brom won that particular race.
Regardless, Villa fans will likely look back fondly on Johnstone’s time at the club, with many absolutely right to laud his arrival at the start of last season.
Villa fans… what do you think? Let us know!