Famous men in football, No. 8: Archie Goodall

October 21, 1899
Goodall is one of the most honoured names in football history. To Preston ears the name has a particular pleasant sound, bringing back to memory days of greatness. John Goodall, the recipient of over a dozen international caps, was the centre-forward of the old North End team, and never was there a finer player in the position.

Looking through the list of outstanding centre-forwards, the impartial critic, if he be a competent man with a clear knowledge of his subject, will be obliged to acknowledge Honest John equal, if not superior, to masters like Tinsley Lindley, Southworth, and Gilbert Oswald Smith. And it is a pleasure to place John Goodall on the topmost pedestal.

He is the sort of player one delight to honour, for side by side with his exceptional skill as a footballer, stands the testimony of all his friends that in private life, as on the field, he is a perfect gentleman. No one ever saw John Goodall perform a dirty trick, however keen the fight in which he was engaged; his career is unmarred by anything mean; and he stands as an almost perfect example to his brother professionals.

His long career, marked by most faithful service to his masters, is apparently well-nigh at an end so far as first-class football is concerned. He leaves a legacy for which the game should be the richer. This eulogy may, possibly, seem out of place in an article purporting to give a sketch of some other player, but pheraps Archie Goodall’s best passport to the friendship of followers of the game, in Preston even more than elsewhere, is the fact that he is a brother of John.

But, this consideration apart, the opportunity here afforded of paying a sincere tribute to “one of the best” was to favourable to be missed. Archie Goodall had a chance with North End when his brother was one of the stars. It was no reflection on him that he failed to secure a permanent place in the team, because the Preston halves of that day were of course, players par excellence. Archie joined Derby County as long ago as the fag-end of the 1887-88 season, and he first sported the colours of the club in a match against Notts County, playing centre-forward. He remained only for a short time, bu rejoined the ranks a season or two later, being accompanied this time by John.

Archie is an Irishman; John is an Englishman; bith learned their football in Scotland. The younger brother’s nationality may have been overlooked by those selecting Irish international teams until last season, when the Derby player, responding to his country’s call, proved the best of the Shamrock representatives.

He is of fiery temperament as compared with his cool-headed kinsman, and an opponent who has the ill-luck to incur the displeasure of Archie is awkwardly placed so long as the Irishman’s wrath is unappeased. With Derby County he has spent nearly the whole of his career, and his consistently sound, forceful, and clever play at centre-half has been an important element in the success which has rewarded the efforts of the representatives of the railway centre in recent years.

In each of the last four years Derby have won distinction in the English Cup Competition, reaching the semi-final in ’96 and ’97, and the final in ’98 and ’99. Possibly the club might have landed the trophy last April had not a misunderstanding kept Goodall out of the team, although Sheffield United wore their opponents down so completely that it is unlikely any one player would have changed the issue. At the same time, instances could be multiplied of one man making all the difference between abject failure and splendid success.

Why, Derby County itself is a case in point.

The breach between Goodall and the club already noted had not been repaired by the beginning of the present season. Not until a series of humiliating defeats produced an acute situation did directors and player realise that the difference was inimical to the interest of both parties. “Graceful concession” were made.

Before this Derby had suffered four consecutive reverses, and had no scored a single goal in the six hours played; since, they have defeated last year’s champions (Aston Villa), Liverpool and Burnley, and have scored 8 goals to 1.

Centre-half is the position in which Goodall has established his claim to come in the front rank of players. When he returned to the team three weeks ago he resumed the captaincy, which had previously fallen to him in the absence of John. Steve Bloomer had skippered the eleven during the dispute, but he relinquished the office with a readline as that was scarcely surprising.

A brilliant player of his stamp, who makes a speciality rather of individual bursts than of carefull fostering combination, is not suited to captain a team. Bloomer knew it, and was pleased to pave the way for the reinstatement of Goodall. As a captain, Archie cannot equal John, who, I remarked last week, stood alongside Ernest Needham and Jack Devey; but he is no mean organiser of the forces under his command.

And there is a point on which he yields place to no captain in the League.  A bold-hearted, never-beaten player, his dash and spirit are contagious, and to his example of pluck and determination may be attributed in a great degree the transformation recently worked in the play of the Derby team.

Overflowing with energy, his methods occasionally smack of the ultra-vigorous; he is strong in breaking up, and on his day is capable not only of holding the best centre forwards, but of playing the inside three men himself. A tall statement, some may say, but Frank Heaven, the West Bromwich secretary, will tell you that Archie beats the Albion himself. North End is another team against which he invariably shines.

It is more literally true of him than of any other player that he is a strong half-back, for he holds some rather surprising records for weight-lifting, in which he is probably unequalled in the Midlands by any man other than a professional strength demonstrator. This physical power is greatly helpful to him in tackling opponents, he is a tremendous force in a scrimmage.

The finest long shot in the kingdom, he drives the ball in at a pace which only Frank Forman and Bennett of other League players can command. Long as he has been playing, his vigour is not seriously diminished, while added experience has given him a close knowledge of all the points with which the successful first class player must be acquainted.

One may, therefore, indulge the happy reflection that even though John plays little or no part in future football, the name Goodall will still be something more than a memory.
(Lancashire Evening Post: October 21, 1899, by ‘Perseus’)

Archie Goodall, Derby County F.C:


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