Johnson was a late appointment as manager for the 1948 tour of England, taking over from his New South Wales colleague Bill Jeanes, who was secretary of the Australian Board of Control and had managed the previous Australian tour of England in 1938. Jeanes had become increasingly unpopular among the players due because of an approach that Haigh called "increasingly officious and liverish".
Led by Bradman—widely regarded as the greatest batsman in history—the Australians went through their 34 matches without defeat, earning the sobriquet The Invincibles. They won 25 of their matches, 17 of these by an innings, and crushed England 4–0 in the five Tests, winning most games heavily.
Despite the Australians' domination of the local teams, the English public showed unprecedented levels of interest in the cricket. Record gate takings were registered at most venues, even when rain affected the matches, and the record attendance for a Test match in England was broken twice, in the Second Test at Lord's and the Fourth Test at Headingley. The 158,000 spectators that watched the proceedings at Headingley remain a record for a Test on English soil. As a result, Australia made £82,671 from the tour, resulting in a profit of £54,172. The popularity of the team meant that they were inundated with invitations for social appointments with government officials and members of the royal family, and they had to juggle a plethora of off-field engagements, with 103 days of scheduled cricket in the space of 144 days. As a result, Johnson was flooded with phone calls and letters, which he had to attend to by himself, as he was the only administrator among the touring party. Bradman later said he was worried that Johnson's tireless work would cause health problems because he "worked like a slave day and night" and that "it was the tribute to a bulldog determination to see the job through". The journalist Andy Flanagan said that Johnson was "'on the ball' every minute of the waking day, and it would be safe to say half the night too."