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Dover appoint ex-Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry, Plymouth defender as player-coach

Dover Athletic appoint an ex-Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry, Plymouth defender as their new player-coach ahead of a tough season ahead.

Réda Johnson has linked up with the club who will start the 2021/22 campaign with a 12-point deduction for failing to complete fixtures during 2020/21 because of finances and the Covid pandemic.

The Kent outfit were also fined £40,000 with an independent panel also charging 18 clubs for alleged breaches of league rules.

Dover, who hadn’t played a fixture since the 30th of January 2021, were one of seven clubs to vote to stop the season in mid-February.


Dover Athletic Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of former Sheffield Wednesday, Plymouth Argyle, and Coventry City defender, Reda Johnson.

The French-born former Benin international centre-back will be a player-coach for Manager Andy Hessenthaler’s side.

The 33-year-old left fellow National League club Eastleigh in February 2020.

He joined the Spitfires from Coventry City in 2016 and made 85 appearances for them, scoring nine times.

Johnson played 88 games for Sheffield Wednesday, 43 for Plymouth, and 34 for Coventry, where he was captain during the 2014/15 season.

Welcome to Crabble, Reda!!

If you would like to sponsor Reda’s playing shirts for the 2021/22 season then please contact our Sponsor Relations Manager Richard Harvey at richard.harvey@doverathletic.com

Reda Johnson wrote via his Twitter account: “Buzzing with my appointment as player coach for @DoverAthletic. I would like to thanks @riadsportsmgt and Andy for making this deal possible. Can’t wait to meet the Dover family. Thanks to all the support from all the fans where I played and of course my Wednesday fam + Korina”


2005–2007 – Gueugnon
2007–2009 – Amiens – 7 games (0 goals)
2009–2011 – Plymouth Argyle – 42 games (2 goals)
2011–2014 – Sheffield Wednesday – 75 games (18 goals)
2014–2016 – Coventry City – 32 games (7 goals)
2016–2020 – Eastleigh – 77 games (8 goals)
2021– Dover Athletic

National team
2009– Benin – 12 games (0 goals)

Manager Andy Hessenthaler spoke to the club website after another busy day of signings.

Interviewer: “Three new signings gaffer, starting with one that people will know from a few years ago, James Caton.”

AH: “Yeah James was here a couple of years ago, and Chris was here, he came in pre-season last year and was close to getting a deal here, but he’s got again another one that’s got decent experience, decent pedigree and can play in different positions in wide areas. Also into the midfield or just behind the striker so it’s a good attacking option. I’m pleased we got him, he’s right up for the challenge which is good because we need everybody to be up for the challenge.”

Interviewer: “Talk about widemen we’ve got Khale Da Costa.”

AH: “Yeah, Khale played for Tonbridge last year, I’ve spoken to a lot of people on Khale, seen a couple of times, good conversations with the Tonbridge manager and I really think he’s ready to stepped up, can get balls up in the box, great step plays, quick. Likes of the signings yesterday, Ricky Miller and Ben Williamson we gotta get balls in the box so Khale, it’s going to be one of his strengths getting in the box along with the likes of Travis Gregory whose staying at the club as well.”

Interviewer: That’s good news on that one and you’ve added more experience to you’re defensive line with Seth Twumasi from Maidenhead.”

AH: “Yeah, Seth played a lot of games at full back, fits into what we want to do, regards to part time, great experience, Chelsea academy, right back but can play on the left if needs be, can slot into centre half, another looking forward to working with. Three signings, things looking to shape up now.”

Fans reacted as Dover appoint ex-Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry, Plymouth defender Reda Johnson as their player-coach…

@LeeCPDAFC: Welcome to Dover Reda! Another quality signing. What a day of incomings.

@OffTheLineBlog: That is a fantastic signing IMO. Still only 33, very experienced and an absolute brute of a defender. Am I surprised though? No, because Andy Hessenthaler is a fantastic manager at this level and no surprise he has managed to convince a top caliber of player to join him.

@MarkWaller9: Oh my god another great experienced signing. I remember him playing against us and being man of the match in Hessys last game in charge of Eastleigh before he came back to us.

@Hernebayowl: Dover you’ve got a great player on your hands @JohnsonReda is an absolute Wednesday. legend and he’ll give everything for the shirt

@SiferJosh: Being from Folkestone I’ve always kept that rivalry to Dover but seeing that @JohnsonReda is here Ill be changing that! Absolute Wednesday legend of recent years

@dannymason1986: Good luck Reda! Such a legend at Wednesday, he’ll do a right job for you!

@GWP84: I’m sure like many Wednesdayites i’m glad to see Reda back in the game. Go well Reda.

@DarrenHare3: Phenomenal signing. Man mountain 💪

@Colinshef1: Looks like I’ll be keeping a eye on @DoverAthletic from now on

@max_cocker: Brilliant signing for you, was immense at Wednesday. He’ll put his head where most won’t put their foot.

@CovIam: Nice one, Reda. Congratulations, fella.

@owl_leonardo: Top geezer Reda

@AlanCutts70: Good luck Reda! Top man 👍 #WAWAW

@danjwheel71: Top bloke you’ve got. Reda Reda!

@LoxleyOwl: All the best Reda! Wawaw

@nicolarowlinson: What a player / coach to have on board 👏🏼👏🏼 good luck @JohnsonReda , you’ll smash it 💪🏼🦉💙x

@O22IE_OWL: All the best mate!

@nanjayman: Not only have you signed a solid defender, you’ve also signed a great human being in @JohnsonReda. Good luck.

@pearcey33: Welcome aboard Reda 👊⚽️👊

@sj_merriman: Good luck Reda lad WAWAW

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