Published: 06:00, 23 June 2021
Maidstone’s new back-up keeper has told how he ended up in goal after struggling with blisters.
Billy Johnson started out in defence as a boy but when his feet were too sore to run, his dad - who was the team manager - suggested he went between the sticks.
The rest is history with Johnson, now 22, spending four years on the books at Charlton before playing men’s football with Corinthian.
He was in the background at Maidstone last season but is now a fully paid up member of Hakan Hayrettin’s first-team squad.
Johnson told Stones TV: “I started off at centre-back, as a seven or eight-year-old, so I got a little experience there.
“One day I got blisters and I just couldn’t run.
“My dad was manager and he was like, ‘Go on, just jump in goal,’ so I did and I enjoyed it. I was half-good, so I stuck at it and here I am.”
Johnson, who will provide competition for new No.1 Tom Hadler, was brought to the club by goalkeeper coach Jim Stannard.
“I’m so grateful for it,” said Johnson. "I’ve worked pretty hard over the last two years and all my life as a football player.
"The opportunity hasn’t come easy, I’ve had to work for it, sending out emails when I was thinking ‘Am I going to carry on playing football?’ and things like that.
“I got a little break with Jim Stannard - he’s done a lot for me - and he brought me in here last year just for training and it all went from there.”