Tibshelf, Derbyshire been goalkeeper Joshua “Joe” Johnson began his football career with Tibshelf Church and played for Newton in 1903 and Ripley Athletic in 1904 before joining First Division club Aston Villa in January 1905, spending 1905-06 on their books without making the first eleven. In the summer of 1906 he moved to Plymouth Argyle but struggled to dislodge John Sutcliffe from his position between the posts, making his Southern League debut in a drawn match against Brentford in December 1906, but he left after just one season having made 7 appearances for The Pilgrims, despite the Argyle handbook stating that he was “tall, alert and keenly observant to Football contingencies. Argyle are lucky to obtain such an embryonic champion”.
Moving on to Crystal Palace, Johnson spent almost eight years with the club, making 295 appearances before the First World War interrupted his career. He was also selected for the Southern League representative side three times while with Palace. When hostilities ceased Johnson joined Second Division club Nottingham Forest, making his Football League debut at Rotherham County in August 1919, missing only 6 matches in 1919-20 before sharing goalkeeping duties with Alfred Bennett the following season, In total he played 54 times for Nottingham Forest, before ending his career with spells in non league football, first with Clay Cross Town in 1921 and then with Sutton Town the following year before his eventual retirement.