Famous men in football – Arthur Goddard

Saturday, February 10 – 1900
Arthur Goddard’s genius should win for him a place among leading players of the game, and, combined with the gentlemanly manner characteristic of his bearing both on the field and off, ought to make him an honoured ornament of professionalism.

So far he has passed such a short season in first-class football that the absolutely full merit of his play has not been realised, and some of the colleagues with whom he has had to operate have not been quite the partner one would choose to bring a man’s points to advantage. And yet Goddard has already inspired many favourable critisisms, while, perhaps, the incestriking tribute to his success up to date is the fact the Glassop governors, who three months ago paid £260 for his transfer from Stockport County are thoroughly satisfied that princely as the price was the bargain was quite a sound one from their standpoint.

Few clubs would have been prepared to open the purse so widely, but, then, Glossop are exceptionally placed in having a generous patron whose well-filled purse enables him to indulge most lavishly his pet hobby of supporting sport, especially football.

If money could purchase goals and points, Glossop would not be at the foot of the League ladder. Money can buy players, though here there are limitations; but goals and players are different things, and Glossop have by pailful experience found that costly men sometimes fall far short of the pinnacle on which reputation had placed them.

In the case of Goddard, however, there is, happily, nothing in the nature of disappointment, and the directors need never be exercised in their minds as to his conduct. So long as he maintains his present excellent character there will be no suspension for misconduct, as has just happened to another member of the team. Among other clubs who have at one time or another made bids for Goddard stands the Rovers, but the Stockport committee were not inclined to accept the £150 then offered.

Arthur Goddard.
1900 Arthur Goddard

Twenty years of age, Goddard has life before him, but a few biographical facts, furnished by a Stockport friend, will show that his junior football days were no uneventful.

He is a Lancashire lad, having been born at Heaton Norris, Stockport, in 1878. Therefore, if he ever comes to be the great player that he gives promise of becoming, our own county will be able to proudly point to him as one of its own sons.

Commencing club football a little over five years ago, he spent three seasons with Christ Church, a junior team whose prowess in their own class was sufficiently shown by twice securing the Stockport and District League Championship, and once running up during Goddard’s connection. The Stockport Cup was also won.

Joining the County in 1897-8, he kept in the background, because the then right-wingers, Bridge and Heys, were playing consistently well, and he had to wait until near the end of the season, when, getting a trial against Wigan County, he scored his side’s only goal. Gara of, North End, may recollect that particular match as one in which, by a clever appeal to the handling code, he hoodwinked the referee and scored the equalising goal.

During the season Goddard had helped the County Reserves to carry off the Ashton Charity Cup and the Stockport Cup. It was December, 1898, when he was permanently promoted to the first team rank, and a couple of months later he was largely instrumental in defeating Glossop in a Manchester Cup-tie by three goals to one, making a back of the calibre of McEwan look rather small. Subsequently the County beat Bury in the final of the competition mentioned, and Goddard’s good form brought numerous inquires.

No business, however, was done until early November, when Mr. Dale, on behalf of Glossop, who in the meantime had had further painful proof of the player’s excellent parts, gave £260 – the highest sum, I believe, ever paid for the transfer of a Lancashire League player.

Goddard has steered his course into first-class football along the extreme right, and has found the route aboy as rapid and direct as are some of his bee-line bursts for goal – bursts full of danger because of the force and accuracy with which he shoots from almost any position.

Standing 5ft. 9in., and weighing 10st. 12lb, he is on the light side, and about the only regret one entertains is that he not rather heavier, though at the same time gis cleverness often enables him to dispense with charging.

Yet there are many other occasions when weight is bound to tell, and recognising this Goddard, when necessary, makes the best use of his ten-twelve. First impressions may lead one to think that he not fast, but watch him racing alongside another speedy player and the truth dawns upon you that he resembles a high geared bicycle in that with his long strides he covers the ground just as rapidly as a man who is taking shorter steps in quicker succession.

Controlling the ball skilfully, and keeping it close to his toe when neat footwork is required, he is also a deceptive dodger, probably passing an opponent on the side least expected. These qualities give him every chance of beating the half-back and the back, which he does frequently. Also – and this is a virtue which some good men forget to cultivate – he studies carefully the question of placing himself we??? receiving passes, and is such a shifty customer, keen as mustard to slip away, and changes his position unawares, that he required a lot of watching.

His shooting has been mentioned; he centres with judgment and he is a worker through and though. Some day, probably not far in the future, he may have a more favourable environment for the development and presentation of his ability, and then the optimistic tone of this brief appreciation many be everywhere endorsed.
(Lancashire Evening Post, 10-02-1900)


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