Poolsbrook, Derbyshire born centre forward Billy Goodwin played junior football for Staveley Primitives in 1912 before spending 1913-14 at Ewood Park with Blackburn Rovers without appearing for their first eleven. He then joined Southern League Exeter City in the summer of 1914 and proved to be a great success at St James’ Park and ended the first season there as the club’s leading goalscorer in Southern League matches with 23 goals in 36 appearances. He was one of a handful of players who did return to the club after the First World War and in 1919-20 he again topped the scoring charts, this time with 17 goals in 37 appearances. He left Exeter, after asking for a transfer, to sign for First Division Manchester United for a fee of £650 in June 1920 and made his Football League debut against Bolton Wanderers that August, but found opportunities limited and netted once for them in seven League outings over his 2 seasons at Old Trafford.
Moving to Southend United in the summer of 1922, he was once again successful in front of goal with 22 goals in his debut season, in which he was the club’s top scorer. Unfortunately he sustained a broken leg in April 1924 in a game against Brighton and Hove Albion and although he attemted a comeback in 1926 it was short lived and he joined non league Dartford in 1927 after 35 goals in 91 appearances, with whom he ended his playing career.