Owls: ‘My relief’, says Sheffield Wednesday’s Reda Johnson after name is cleared

Happy man: Owls ace Reda Johnson is in the clear.
Happy man: Owls ace Reda Johnson is in the clear.
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OWLS defender Reda Johnson has told of his relief now that his name has been cleared.

He says he was innocent of falsely imprisoning a woman - the charge that was thrown out of court in Manchester.

The 23-year-old Benin international also revealed that initially he worried that Wednesday may cancel his contract.

A woman complained to police that she was held against her will at an address in Greater Manchester in November.

Johnson was charged the following month, and appeared in court in January on the day after he signed for the Owls, who had been unaware of the case.

Johnson, whose native language is French but who speaks English, said: “It’s very simple. I’m a football player. I meet two girls, one of them I knew before. These two girls tried to take advantage of me.

“The case was dropped because there was nothing against me.

“Now it is finished, You know when there is a lot of press about that [when the charge became public], afterwards some people think I am a bad man. But no, I never do that.

“It was my first time in court. It wasn’t easy for me or my family, because you don’t know what happens after. When you know you’re not guilty it’s very hard to see people watching you and believing maybe you do that. I knew from the start that I wasn’t guilty. Now everyody can know that. It is most important for me,.

“But of course it was very hard for me, my family and Sheffield Wednesday, because when I signed they could maybe have broken my contract; it could have broken my life, because football is my life. It was my big worry.”

Now he is “very happy” and he added that team-mates knew from the start that he was innocent.

Johnson faces a challenge for his place from Rob Jones at Brighton today. Jones would have returned against Tranmere on Tuesday if he had been fit; he has now fully recovered from concussion and Gary Megson has hinted he may change a winning side to freshen it up.