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November of 1928: An interview with John Goodall

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2021-07-30 03:37:26


Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
John Goodall, between 1888 and 1898, played for England seven times against Scotland, six times against Wales, once against Ireland, and in that long series of matches was only twice on the losing side!
Now in his 66th year, he resides at Watford, and is in the service ot the West Herts Sports Club, at the Cassioroad enclosure, where rugby, hockey, and tennis are played.
The famous veteran's hobby is birdkeeping. He is a great authority not only on British but on foreign birds. In fact, it is easier to make him talk about his feathered pets than about football. But when he is in reminiscent vein he can make the old giants of the football arena live again. His views, too, command wide attention and respect.
John Goodall describes himself as “born in London, but reared In Kilmarnock.” His father was a soldier who was moved from place to place. Thus Archie, brother of John, first saw the light at Belfast, and so was an Irish International, while a sister claims Edinburgh as her birthplace. Ball control secrets.
John started playing football as a boy, and kept in the game until was in his 50th year. His last match was in the Second Division of the Southern League; he played for Mardy against Swansea in January, 1913. Now let him speak for himself:
— When I was wee lad — says Goodall —, I used to play with bare feet, as did nearly every Scottish boy. We had a rubber ball, and got so expert in controlling it that I am sure half-a-dozen of us could have gone on a stage and given a good turn at juggling with the ball. if the young players nowadays had the same sort of practice we should not hear so many lamentations about the lack Of ball control.
After a spell with Kilmarnock Burns, I went to Kilmarnock Athletic, then one of the foremost teams in Scotland. For two years we were in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup, once against Queen's Park and once against Vale of Levon.
I played in one of the inside positions; those were the times of two centre-forwards and two half-backs. As a youngster I recall playing against the famous Dr. Smith, and I met him later on when he was with Corinthians, He was a really great player.
My first great club was Great Lever, and I stayed two season with them. We were considered to have the best forward line in England. Kidnapped!
I went home for a holiday, and some of the Bolton Wanderers' people persuaded me to agree to play for them. At that time there was no such thing "signing-on"; you just said "yes" or "no", and the matter was settled. We got to Bolton all right and went to the club’s headquarters. Then I was kidnapped! We were sitting having a chat when little fellow named Ramsay, who played with me at Great Lever, put his head round the door and said: "Johnny, I want to see you a minute". When I got out of the room there were two other fellows there who had come from Preston. They bundled me into a cab and we drove to the station and went to Preston, via Blackburn. It appears that in a short time the Bolton people tumbled to what was happening and went after me, but they rushed to tho wrong station. “INVINCIBLES" 26-0 MATCH.
Afterwards they tried to get back but I decided to stay at Preston. I am glad I did, for during the four years I was there we made football history.
Those were great days, and I love to look back upon them. The wonder year was 1888-89, when we won the Championship of the League without losing a match, and won the F.A. Cup without having a goal scored against us.
I think "The Invincibles" were fonder of the game than the present players. There was never the slightest jealousy, and we never took any notice of who got the goals.
Trainer, our goalkeeper, was the best man in that position I ever saw. We used to know that if we got a goal or two he would do the rest. His triple hat-trick.
Sometimes we had a bushel of goals. We were drawn against Hyde in the F.A. Cup at Hyde, but they agreed to come to Preston, where they lost by 26 clear goals.
It really seemed as if the only time they touched the ball was when they kicked off. If Bunyan, the goalkeeper, had not been in great form we should have had fifty.
Talking of goals, I can recall that we Strathmore at Dundee by 16—2, and I got the first nine goals — a triple hat-trick. Every time we got down the ball seemed to come automatically to me and I could not help putting it through. The credit was not due to me, but to the supreme artists who were alongsldie me. Corinthians charging.
Of all the matches played those with the Corinthians were the most enjoyable. They were a very talented side and they played a thoroughly sporting game. When they came to Preston we used to play them also at bowls and billiards. P. M. Walters was always my opponent at billiards.
I don’t know what some of the present players would think of the charging of those days. P. M. Walters would shout to his brother, "Hustle him!” and it used to be a hustle, too, that would send you spinning half across the field.
I never saw a better dribbler than W. N. Cobbold, who was simply marvellous on the ball. Our style and that of the Corinthians was alike in this respect — the ball always came to you so that you got a flying start. There was no turning round and doubling back; you ran into an open position, and the ball could be picked up in a stride. Present training "All wrong".
I am often asked If we did any special training in those days. We did not. We used practically to please ourselves. We would go lor long walks, and vary it with ball practice. I am sure the present day system of training is all wrong. The trainers are generally old sprint runners, and the men are wound up like clock. Their muscles are so hard that if they make a quick turn on a hard ground they get bad strain.
Look at the men who get crocked in the first tew matches Of a season now. We did not get torn muscles; and, what is more, first-class clubs Went through the season with only two or three reserves.
There is one fact in connection with Preston North End which I do not think is generally known, and that is that one of our forwards, Fred Dewhurst, was an amateur.
I am a great believer in amateurs playing alongside professionals. It used to pay in the old days, and it would pay now If clubs would only try It. Could give best 6 goals start
I am sometimes twitted because I hold that the North End of that day would give any of the present sides six goals start and beat them. They tell me the style of play is different, and that modern defences and the pace of the game would upset our calculations. Would they?
After “The Invincibles" were broken up, and all the players except Jimmy Ross, myself, and I think one other had given up playing, they got us together as far as possible to play a match with the Preston North End team of the time.
We — a collection of old crocks — beat them just as easily as we used to beat opponents formerly, and if we had been fit goodness knows what would have happened!
Johnny Graham had not been playing for four years, and the same applied to Sam Thompson, who could hardly put one foot in front of the other after the interval. Got Bloomer his first cap
I went to Derby in 1889; they gave me a local hostelry, and that was the inducement. Spilsbury, the famous Corinthian, was one of the side, as was Haydn Morley, a solicitor in the town, and a well-known player. Bloomer came as boy to us, starting at a wage of about 10s a week. season 1887-8. Once he got in the team he remained there. He had his off days like the rest of us, when he was very poor, but he was extremely quick on the ball and a wonderful shot.
I was outside right to Bloomer for several years, and I think I can claim that he profited a little from my coaching, though, of course, he was always a natural player.
I can tell the story of how he got his first cap. We were coming back in the train from an International — I think it was against Wales — when the Selection Committee called me in and asked my opinion about the team against Scotland. It was a question for Bloomer or myself for inside right, and I urged them to give Bloomer preference. I think I did a bad turn for Scotland that day. The "old crooks".
My first International was against Wales at Crewe in 1888, and the same forward line played against Scotland the same season. We won by five clear goals at Hampden Park. I was inside right and Tinsley Lindley was centre.
The Scots said we were the best team England had put out up to then. I know that we walked round them.
Our side, If I remember aright, was W. R. Moon; P. M. Walter, Bob Howarth; G. Howarth (Accrington), A. G. Henfrey (Corinthians), Allen (Wolverhampton); Spry Woodhall (the predecessor of Bassett), myself, Tinsley Lindley, Fred Dewhurst and Dennis Hodgetts.
It was a big side, and I think I was the smallest player of the lot.
We had another rattling good team in 1892, when we beat the Scots by 4—1. For some reason or other the Scottish papers described us as the "Old Crooks", but in twenty minutes we had got four goals, and they had not seen the way we went. I shall not forget the way little Johnny Holt bottle up M'Mahon, the opposing centre-forward. It was really too funny for words. Flukiest final?
My greatest disappointment and my greatest surprise in football was when West Bromwich Albion beat North End by 2—1 in the Cup Final in the season 1887-8. Thera was never a more fluky result. Our goalkeeper had next to nothing do, and the two successful shots came as a surprise. Bassett's goal was a centre almost from the corner flag, and the ball swerved in the air and dropped under the bar. We ralned shots in, and our opponents must have stopped the ball dozens of times without knowing anything about it.
The next year we made no mistake and beat the Wolves in the Final by 3—0. We- played a semi-final against Crewe Alexandra at Liverpool when there was a veritable lake on the ground. It was really a game of water-polo. A match would certainly not be allowed now on such a pitch. So I "went for him"!
During my time I played in every position on the field, I kept goal for five or six weeks at a stretch; that was when Jack Robinson had his collarbone broken. I have figured at back and half-back, and in the Internationals I have played in all three inside positions.
The older generation will remember what a versatile man Crabtree was. Geordie Drummond was another; he would be full-back one week and outside left the next. A good player ought to be able to play anywhere.
Like most of the old brigade, I enjoyed giving and receiving hard knocks, providing everything was fair and above board. I was only really provoked once. That was when we were playing an exhibition match at Lincoln. The opposing centre-half fetched me down time after time from behind; he kept kicking my heels. I protested, and at last told him that if he did not stop it I would punch his head. I told the referee, too, of my intention. Well, the same thing occurred again, and I went for my opponent. The crowd broke in, and the referee ran away. Jack Strawson, then one of Lincoln directors, refereed the match out, and we got on much better after.
Some time after that I met my old friend and opponent at the Central Hotel, Glasgow. He spoke to me, but I did not know him until he remarked: "Don't you remember Lincoln". Then we had a rare laugh over our little scrap. A word to the boys
I need not refer in any detail to my stay at Glossop, at Watford, and at Mardy.
But players to-day may be interested to hear that when I was considered to be at my prime my wages were £3 a week, which was thought a big sum.
When I was at Preston an official of the Everton club came to my house one night with what he thought was a splendid offer of 50s a week to play for them. "I don't suppose you are having anything like that here, " he said, and was very surprised when I told him I was getting more.
I had a glorious in the best of all games, and if I may presume to give the youngsters of to-day a word of advice it is that they should remember that without ball control they can never hope to play well.
There is no need for all the nelterskelter and rushing about we see to-day. Sprinting is not football: it is only a small part of it.
Ball control and quick thinking always were and always will be the chief essentials in the make-up of a complete footballer.
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