Adam Johnson portrayed in court as arrogant, spoilt and philandering

Adam Johnson has been portrayed in court as the epitome of the top-flight footballer stereotype - arrogant, spoilt and philandering.

Thursday, 24th March 2016, 5:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th March 2016, 6:33 pm
Adam Johnson.

Johnson's own QC told jurors they may well agree with the prosecution's portrayal of his client as "immature, arrogant, promiscuous" and that "the only time he had to fend for himself was on the football field cheered on by thousands of adoring fans".

Talk of his £60,000-a-week wage packet, luxury cars with personalised plates and his £1.8 million, six-bedroom mansion only added to this image.

At his sentencing hearing, a psychiatrist told the court: "This is a man who, at the age of 28, is socially and psychologically immature."

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But it was the "promiscuous" part of this characterisation which led to Johnson's downfall.

Related article: JAILED: Adam Johnson sentenced to six years in prison for child sex offencesStacey Flounders - until recently Johnson's partner and the mother of his one-year-old daughter, Ayla - talked about the "other women" when she gave evidence in the trial.

And the judge sentencing him said the offending took place "at a time when you were engaged in frequent sexual intercourse with multiple partners".

Miss Flounders, 26, explained to the jury how the player had confessed to cheating on her after he was arrested.

She said he would not tell her how many women there had been, but he said it was "quite a few". And she said she suspected he was unfaithful during her pregnancy.

Johnson admitted his cheating, telling the jury how his relationship was in a bad state in January last year because he had been messaging other women.

Kate Blackwell QC, prosecuting, told the jury: "He cheated on his girlfriend and lied and manipulated her in a way which demonstrates his exceptional duplicity."

Miss Flounders appeared to be standing by her man, accompanying him to court for most of the trial.

But, when she took to the witness box, she told the court they were "just going to remain friends" and Johnson's barrister said the relationship was "up in the air".

Johnson was already an England international when he met Miss Flounders in 2011.

She said they were introduced by her cousin and moved into Johnson's home in Castle Eden, County Durham, in 2013 - a nearly new mansion he bought not far from where he grew up.

Born in Sunderland in July 1987, Johnson was brought up in the nearby pit village of Easington.

His talent on the pitch was spotted at an early age.

Father Dave and mother Sonia supported his development, which saw him shine for Peterlee Boys - who won through a national tournament to play at Wembley in 1998.

Middlesbrough took him into their famed academy at the age of 12 and nurtured him, despite his small size.

Boro's youth set-up produced a string of successful players, including future England international Stewart Downing.

However, the word on Teesside was that there was an even better prospect following in Downing's footsteps, and that youngster was Johnson.

Current Academy manager Dave Parnaby never had any doubts about his ability.

Parnaby said: "Adam was one of the first players I saw here when I walked through the gates in 1998. I saw this little dot playing on the wing and the first thing I noticed was this ability to dribble and the mentality to want to dribble."

Johnson made his senior debut as a 17-year-old substitute in Boro's 1-0 Uefa Cup defeat by Sporting Lisbon in Portugal on March 17 2005 and went on to represent the club on 120 occasions either side of loan spells at Leeds and Watford - before winning a £7 million move to Manchester City in February 2010.

Johnson won both the league title and the FA Cup, as well as the first of his 12 England caps, during a two-and-a-half-year stay at the Etihad Stadium.

But then manager Roberto Mancini grew increasingly frustrated with his inconsistency and attitude as the 2011-12 season drew to a close and his days at the club were numbered.

But he was coveted on his native Wearside and Sunderland owner Ellis Short gave then manager Martin O'Neill exactly what he wanted when he sanctioned a £10 million swoop in August 2012.

Johnson took his time to settle into life at the Stadium of Light but, having found his feet, worked his way back into the England squad only for injuries and further inconsistency to cost him his chance to add significantly to his tally of caps.

In all, he made 141 appearances for the club, the last 28 of them following his reinstatement from a suspension imposed after his arrest at his Castle Eden home.