Dalton-in-Furness, Lancashire born inside forward Thomas Clark Fisher “Tosh” Johnson was one of the game’s more successful forwards in the 1920’s and early 1930’s. He signed for Manchester City in 1919 scoring twice on his Football League debut at Middlesbrough in February 1920, but initially opportunities were limited alongside the likes of Horace Barnes, Frank Roberts and Tommy Browell. However by 1922 he had established a regular place as Manchester City consistently finished in the top 10, that was until 1925-26, when despite Johnson’s best return to date of 15 goals, they were relegated. City also reached the FA Cup Final where Bolton Wanderers beat them 1-0 at Wembley in April 1926, on the way Johnson had bagged a quarter final hat trick against Clapton Orient, and he was awarded his first England cap the following month in Antwerp, scoring against Belgium in a 5-3 victory.
In 1926-27 City failed to gain promotion by the narrowest of margins despite Johnson’s 25 goals, but they made amends by winning the Second Division Championship in 1928 with Johnson bagging 19 goals. In 1928-29 Johnson went goal crazy scoring 38 goals in 39 games, still the all time single season scoring record for a Manchester City player, including five in a 6-2 win at Goodison Park that would alert Everton to his effectiveness. His second England cap followed in November 1929, scoring twice in a 6-0 demolition of Wales.
In March 1930, Everton pounced on Johnson paying £6,000 for his services after 166 goals in 354 games for The Citizens, however he couldn’t prevent Everton being relegated. Successive Championships followed in 1931 and 1932, the Second Division followed by the League title, a season in which Johnson scored 22 goals, and Johnson won a further 3 England caps between December 1931 and October 1932 scoring twice in a 7-1 win over Spain at Highbury. He also represented The Football League on three occasions.
In 1933 Everton won the FA Cup beating alma mater Manchester City 3-0 in the Final. But in March 1934 after 65 goals in 161 games for The Toffees, Johnson moved across Stanley Park to Liverpool. His impact was immediate, Johnson played in the last 11 matches of the 1933-34 season and scored twice, a period in which six games were won and only three lost. This contrasted greatly with the previous, depressing run of 17 games before Johnson was picked for the first team when only one match resulted in maximum points so his introduction made a significant difference to the club’s fortunes at a crucial stage of the season. Johnson played his last of 39 matches for the Reds in April 1936 having scored 8 times. He then became player manager of Darwen and kept playing until the outbreak of the Second World War.
NB in the photograph, Johnson stands in the middle with fellow forwards (l-r) Billy Austin, Frank Roberts, Horace Barnes and “Spud” Murphy.