Heaton Norris, Stockport, Cheshire born outside right Arthur Goddard was a fantastic servant to Liverpool Football Club and a worthy member of Liverpool’s official Hall of Fame. Goddard began his football career playing for the Christ Church Club in Stockport from age 16 in 1894 where his talent didn’t go unnoticed and he started his ascent with Lancashire League club Stockport County in 1897 where he played two seasons. He gained significant attention from other clubs after being described as “instrumental” in Stockport’s 3-1 victory over Glossop North End in the semi-final of the Manchester Cup. He also played in the Final of the competition as Stockport defeated Bury, before joining First Division club Glossop for £260 in November 1899, the highest fee ever paid for a Lancashire League player, Goddard making his Football League debut against Sheffield United that December. He didn’t miss a match for the rest of the season, scoring twice in a 4-2 win over Blackburn Rovers in February 1900, and although Glossop were relegated at the end of the campaign, Goddard was ever present the following season and with 14 goals was only behind Fred Crump in the 1900-01 goal getting list, a total which included scoring all three goals in a 3-1 win over Gainsborough Trinity in October 1900, before First Division Liverpool paid £460 for his services in February 1902 after 22 goals in 82 appearances for The Hillmen.
He was given his Liverpool debut at Wolverhampton Wanderers on 8th March 1902 and that started a run of eleven successive matches in which he scored twice. Regular right winger Jack Cox was moved to the left as Goddard established himself in the side over the next two seasons, missing only one League match in each and scoring a total of 17 goals. In 1904-05 he won a Second Division Championship medal and followed that up by being the only ever present in The Reds’ team that won the League Championship a year later. Goddard then scored in Liverpool’s 5-1 Sheriff of London Charity Shield victory over The Corinthians at Craven Cottage in May 1906.
His smooth wing play earned him the nickname ‘Graceful Arthur’ and Goddard continued to play consistently, averaging over 30 League appearances for the next seven seasons. He was appointed captain of the side in the 1909-10 season and led by example as Liverpool finished runners up in the League Championship which was their best placing for four years. Goddard contributed more to the goalscoring than in previous years going into double figures for the first time since 1903 with 13 goals. 1913-14 proved to be his final season at Anfield as he lost his place in November 1913 after figuring in ten of the opening eleven fixtures and he only played once more in a defeat at Bradford City in April 1914, no doubt disappointed in missing out on Liverpool’s first FA Cup Final which The Reds lost 1-0 to Burnley. Much loved by the Anfield faithful, Goddard was granted a testimonial which raised monumental sum of £250 enough for Goddard to set up a business on Merseyside after he retired from playing.
Goddard’s contract was not renewed and having scored 81 goals in 416 appearances for Liverpool over thirteen seasons at Anfield he went on a free transfer to Southern League club Cardiff City during the 1914 close season, where he scored 8 goals in 31 appearances for The Bluebirds during the final peacetime season before the onset of the First World War forced the suspension of peacetime football.
Goddard returned to Anfield and played 49 matches for Liverpool as a wartime guest scoring 7 times, receiving a warm welcome by The Liverpool Echo in September 1915. “A well-preserved, gentlemanly player, with a graceful style, Goddard is able to keep time with present day football without straining himself, and, in truth, I think his play will be all the better suited by the friendly game, because he has not to worry about trips and backs, as in former years.” Goddard, who was once described “as graceful as a gazelle”, was twice chosen for international trials, while at Glossop and Liverpool and it was predicted he would soon make his full England debut. That surprisingly never came to fruition but while still a Glossop player Goddard was chosen to represent The Football League when they beat The Irish League 9-0 at The Manor Ground, Plumstead in November 1901, and he played twice more for The Football League while a Liverpool player.