He made his Southern League debut on August 31 in a 5-3 home defeat by Wellington, but on September 23 became the first United player to score a hat-trick against Cambridge City, two days after scoring another hat-trick in a 5-1 league win over Merthyr Tydfil. The Cambridge Evening News enthused: ‘Here is an exiled newcomer, gifted with all the ball control one finds more readily on the hard continental surfaces and possessing all the speed, flexibility and anticipation of a Jimmy Greaves.’
Johnny netted four goals in the space of 20 minutes in a 6-2 win at Rugby, and in a 6-2 defeat at Bath City he scored what the local press called the best goal they had ever seen: an overhead kick with his back to goal from a Matt McVittie cross. He notched another hat-trick in September 1964, in a 3-0 win over Stevenage, but injuries and new manager Roy Kirk’s tinkering with the line-up saw him fail to recapture his true goalscoring form consistently.
He joined Corby Town at the end of the 1964/65, then after ten months returned north to play for Scarborough until 1967. Thereafter he earned his living in tyre-fitting, which he had learned during a summer job at United chairman Jack Woolley’s Abbey Tyre Company in Newmarket Road.
Back in Doncaster, he talked of his life to a Coconuts TV crew in 2014. The interview can be found here.
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