Steve Johnson – or Stevie J, as he’s known to many – is the mercurial genius who was at the heart of three Geelong premierships. His 2007 season in particular is one of the great football stories and one that will be long remembered where he went from being arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct at the start of the year, to Norm Smith medalist at the end.
A crowd favourite at Geelong, Stevie J has celebrated a career that spanned 15 seasons, 293 games and 516 goals and two clubs, with a number of achievements between. He however also has a fascinating story outside of football, having been on the ground during the Bali bombings and with a family touched by drug addiction and tragedy.
In his new book Stevie J The Cat with the Giant Story, Johnson discusses all of the highs and incredible lows he endured during this time.
“I wouldn’t say I went into too much detail about my personal life, there’s certainly a part that might open the eyes of a few people, but it’s mainly a footy book,” Johnson tells Forte. “It’s about me growing up as a junior footballer and aspiring to play AFL, and then the transition from a junior footballer into the AFL system and going through some setbacks, and finding myself in hot water from time to time. There’s a fair bit about the successful period of the Geelong Footy Club from 2007-2011, and then obviously the twilight of my career at the Giants so that’s the main gist of the book.”
The release comes at the conclusion of Johnson’s playing career and signifies that beginning of his new job with the Sydney Swans as an assistant coach, however Johnson admits the idea of a biography took a bit of convincing.
“It’s been on the agenda and my manager has been asking me to agree to it for probably two to three years,” he laughs, “I eventually decided that I would and it’s probably been a thing that’s been 18 months in the process, because it looked like last year might have been my last year so we got everything sorted but then I decided to go on for another year so we had to add another couple of chapters. But now I’ve had enough so time to bring it out.”
Featuring plenty of stories and good-natured banter, The Cat with the Giant Story is one for the footy-lovers – just in time for Christmas.
Stevie J The Cat with the Giant Story is on sale now.
Steve Johnson with Adam McNicol