Tennis brought Bill Johnson to Norwood. State tennis captain over 10 years, Bill was a Tranmere Tennis Club mate of leading Norwood footballers Bob Fosdike and Ron Reimann. They knew he was a goalkicker with Prince Alfred Old Collegians and eventually persuaded him to have a run with the Redlegs.
Bill had mixed feelings about league football. He got a buzz from the roar of the crowd but found it hard to adjust as coach Jack Oatey tried to juggle a top-heavy forward line in 1956. One highlight was a four-goal bag against tough Port Adelaide full back John Abley in a losing score of 7.15 to 13.18 on Anzac Day. Bill and ruckman Graham Nicholls each kicked five goals against North Adelaide in Round 5. Then Bill's season was disrupted when he suffered concussion in a heavy collision against Glenelg on his 21st birthday - the day he and fellow tennis luminary Yvonne Wells announced their engagement. Bill played 12 league games that season and received a trophy for forward play.
Under young coach Haydn Bunton, Norwood unluckily lost the grand final to Port Adelaide by 11 points in 1957. Bill was not in the grand final team. He played only nine league games that season but showed his mettle with a five-goal haul against West Adelaide despite unpleasant tactics employed by full back Doug Thomas. Bill certainly had the last laugh, with Norwood winning 12.16 to 8.18.
He enjoyed his 1958 season with the Reserves, kicking 45 goals in 21 games - eight against Sturt in Round 5. Altogether he kicked 53 goals in 34 Reserves games. He then returned to the Old Reds as a player and supporter for the next six decades.
Bill was born on 27 July 1935 to market gardener Ron Johnson, who would serve as Mayor of Campbelltown and president of the Congregational Union, and his wife Hazel (née Ure). After two years at King's College, Bill moved to Prince Alfred College, where he concentrated on tennis and did not play football at the senior level. After school, he pursued a business career. He was general manager of the building supplies firm L. G. Abbott and later became a manufacturers representative in sporting goods.
Bill played Linton Cup tennis and was ranked No 4 in the state. His wife Yvonne, a Wilson Cup player, was No 1 in women's tennis and captain of the state women's golf team. Their children are Joanna and David
P Robins, G Adams March 2019