The summer signing from Manchester City cost the club £10m when he put pen to paper and a lot was expected of the England winger on his return to his native North East.
Things have not turned out as expected and with the team currently slipping towards the danger area in the Premier League, there are one or two voices now openly questioning the wisdom of his signing.
But Johnson has defended himself, and he told the Gazette: “I know that fans aren’t happy, but I have scored four goals this season. I’ve put in more crosses than anyone else, and I’ve had assists for 11 goals too.
“Those are the stats I prefer to concentrate on because they help give you confidence.
“The people who are ahead of me on the assists list are mainly at the top five clubs.
“They are the likes of Juan Mata, Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie – so that’s not bad company to be in – and I’m the only player in that group who is in the bottom half of the table.
“Obviously, people don’t really see that, or look at those sort of things. That’s what I have to focus on though because it is important you keep your self-belief if you want to contribute to the side.”