As I trudge through the tight halls of Tividale’s changing rooms, to my left is the home dressing room you could hear a pin drop, to my right it was the away dressing room, and you could hear all the noise. Joe Haines was typically his loud, confident self, leaving defender Leighton McMenemy in stitches. As I sit and wait, the player I’m interviewing is a lot quieter and more subdued than his teammates and he likes it that way.
“Alright fellas,” Scott Goodby says in his usual nonchalant and relaxed tone. The 34-year-old strolls into the dressing room with his usual summer hat on looking as if he’s strolling through Brighton Palace Pier in the summer, you wouldn’t know that it was a wet rainy Tuesday evening in Dudley. He looks at me and says: “Are you ready?”. As we stroll out to the chairs outside of the clubhouse, the relaxed tone of the midfielder is infectious, as I too become more serene ahead of the interview.
“I think we started off really well,” Goodby says with a smile on his face. “The run we went on, we were flying. It was natural that the bubble was going to burst sometimes we just had so many games. For me personally, I think the season started well, unfortunately, I had an injury, which ruled me out for two months.
“When I returned, the team kind of changed, before my injury the playstyle was suiting my game, but the gaffer wanted us to run more, which a lot of people say is not my game. I didn’t look after myself in the two months I was out, my form struggled a bit when I came back and it was the first time the gaffer started leaving me out. I feel like now my form is coming back and I’m starting to reach the level I was at before the injury.”
Goodby has had a difficult season, two months out with injury was difficult for the player: “I had a meniscus tear, I was running back and I felt a pop, I had an MRI scan, which confirmed it. It was hard being injured especially when the lads were doing so well you just want to be out there, it was frustrating that I couldn’t. I didn’t come back until I knew I was ready, just slightly regret not keeping myself fit when I was out.”
As the conversation continues, in the background I see Ivor Green and Wayne Chapman pacing as they so often are with pensive looks on their faces, so the conversation naturally turns to the management team.
“I met Chatty (Wayne Chapman) 10 years ago,” Goodby reveals with a smirk on his face after the inevitable question. “I was at Bolehall Swifts, I remember he didn’t like me, he said he couldn’t work me out. I was quiet then and still am now in the dressing room. We go for a few beers together now, we talk football, it’s great.
“I met Ivor (Green) when I went to Atherstone, everyone mentions how much he talks about football, he could keep you up all night talking about football, I’ve got a lot of time and respect for him, he’s a great man.”
From spending time in and around the squad, the respect that the players and certainly the management team have for Goodby is no surprise. The midfielder has been brilliant over the last few weeks and looks to be one of Ivor Green’s trusted lieutenants.
“Am I?” he asks in his typically laid-back manner when I ask about him being one of the trusted players in the team. “As I say I’m pretty quiet in the dressing room you’ve got Hainsey (Joe Haines) and Dlo (Dan Lomas) going back and forth constantly. I suppose the changing room would be a bit boring if you had a team full of people like me, so you need that difference in personalities.”
As we begin to mull over the previous nine months of non-stop football, Goodby highlights to me his leadership qualities in a short but meaningful way, as he reflects on any regrets through the season and his thoughts on finishing third.
“Football is about winning things,” he began. “It looks like we’re going to come third, which people will say is a good season, but at the end of the day not to sound harsh, people don’t remember the team in third. We’ve got a semi-final coming up with the chance to go to Molineux and win a trophy. The last time I got to the JW Hunt Cup final was with Atherstone, but the final was played at AFC Wulfrunians, which is a bit of a step down as you can imagine.
“Hopefully we can play at Molineux and right some of the wrongs this season and end it on a high.”
As the weather began to take a turn for the worse, the conversation of Goodby’s route into the game is brought up and he has taken a rather different path into this weird and wonderful sport we call football.
“It’s a weird one for me, I’ve known football all my life,” he says. “I would play it religiously with my friends until we hit 15, once that happened everyone sort of went their separate ways, you’d start meeting people, I used to get drunk in the days leading up to or after games, as teenagers do. I didn’t really play Saturday football; I wasn’t interested in it but my brother used to play for Coalville.
“One year, Coalville got to the FA Vase final at Wembley, and he scored. That gave me the motivation and the kick I needed almost like ‘I want a piece of this‘. My best mate had a bad injury and took over the Coalville reserve side and asked me to come down. I was 23 when I started playing Saturday football, then I broke into their first team, and it’s gone from there really.”
So with the midfielder arguably approaching the twilight of his career, what are his plans for life after football?
“Golf,” he emphatically replies with no hesitation. “I think nowadays the game has gone a bit soft, the way I’ve grown up with football it’s no longer proper football. Never say never but if a coaching role came up then maybe I’d go for it, I don’t think I could be a manager. More of a Chapman rule for me I think (he laughs). I think you’re more likely to find me on a golf course than a football sideline in the future.”
The 34-year-old spoke ahead of a difficult game away at Tividale, in which a late Leighton McMenemy goal was the difference, although you wouldn’t know that judged by Goodby’s relaxed attitude after the game in the clubhouse, as he ate his Spaghetti and garlic bread watching the Champions League on TV, as tranquill off the pitch as he is on it.