The inner game of Freddie Goodwin


Years ahead of his time? Or patronising messages from a cod pychologist?

From Football League Review in the 1969/70 season, with photo by Peter Robinson:

Brighton manager Freddie Goodwin reckons he has part of the answer to easing pre-match dressing room tensions… a dose of philosophy and a touch of psychology.

For the walls of the home dressing room at the Goldstone Ground are decorated with the thoughts of manager Fred – philosophical titbits for his players.

Examples: “It’s tough at the top – it’s hell anywhere else.” … “We supply everything here except guts.” … “Exhaustion – when one needs help to be sick.”

Explains the young Brighton boss: “It’s an idea I picked up in the States. Try to condition players to think in depth about the game and life in general, and it helps everyone.”

The former Manchester United and Leeds defender who took over the Brighton job after a spell in America has taken a night-school course in psychology. “I am sure it helps in a job like this when you are dealing with people of different temperaments,” he says.

Does philosophy in the dressing room help results on the field? Says Fred: “It may just be coincidence but after I had put up the sayings on the wall last January, the team hit a good patch of form.”

So teams visiting Brighton this season beware.., you’ll be facing 11 players with this thought in mind: “Success for the club adds up to better money for everyone.”

Whatever the positive effects the sloganeering may have provided, they must have wore off by the time Albion’s promotion push from Division Three hit the rocks in late March 1970. By mid-April, it was exhausted. To note one of the messages in Goodwin’s hand, I’m not sure anyone needed help to be sick then.


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