Michael Owen Johnson, a former member of the Reggae Boyz national football team, has been named the new sporting director of Ireland’s Limerick FC new club academy. Although he was born in Nottingham, England, both of his parents are Jamaicans. Johnson played 13 times for the Reggae Boyz. Johnson is also an England U21 coach and club ambassador of Derby County. During his playing career, he appeared over 550 times in the Football League and Premier League, including in over 250 games for Birmingham City and more than 100 times each for Notts County and Derby County.
Johnson, 47, has signed a one-year contract with the Shannonsiders and will be employed as a consultant dividing his time between Limerick and England. His new role will be combined with his current position as Elite Coach with England’s Under-21s and his work as a club ambassador for the Derby County Football Club.
The former Jamaican international has previously worked as a youth coach in Notts County, Birmingham City, and Cardiff City before he took over the Guyana men’s national team, which he led to the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2019. This was the first major tournament in Guyana’s history.
Commenting on his agreement with Limerick FC, Johnson said he was proud to take the job of Sporting Director at the club and thanked the club for their faith in him. He is looking forward to working with the staff and players as they collectively move to show their improvement on and off the field in 2021, he added.
Limerick FC did not play League of Ireland football in 2020 as it battled examinership and then brought a High Court case against the FAI when the club claimed they had not been invited to submit a license application and were then excluded from the league for not doing so. The county’s current representation in League of Ireland football is Treaty United, which was founded in 2020. The men’s team of Treaty United is managed by the former Limerick head coach, Tommy Barrett.
The first Limerick FC was established in 1937 and since then has undergone a number of iterations, playing as Limerick, Limerick United, Limerick City, and Limerick 37. Each of these was the only representation of senior football in Limerick city since the club’s founding. Limerick won the League of Ireland championship in 1959-60 and 1979-80. It also won the FAI Cup twice in 1971 and 1982 and the League of Ireland Cup three times in 1975–76, 1992–93 and 2001–02. It has participated in European competitions six times.