Mr. Goodwin tries swimming

Date: 15th February 2021

The latest blog from SFSA writer Donald Stewart:

Nobody is seeing the funny side… And Mr. Goodwin, erstwhile swimming coach at the Ferguslie Park Recreational and Fitness Centre is not laughing.

Picture the scene…

Mr. Goodwin is scowling.

No longer the happy go lucky lovely natured guy of his competitive days, he is now trying to give off the image that he is a serious and respected coach. For some, his smouldering peppery grey beard has done the trick and they now see him as the kinda guy you can trust with your Haribos, but to others he has still got a way to go…

Or shall we just call them, the committee…

Bedecked in their club blazers they have come to sit in the front row of the pool today and witness his training methodology with the diving team.

Last weekend was the West of Scotland Invitational event for divers within the west coast area and quite frankly, the performance was a “joke”.

This was Mr. Goodwin words and not anyone else’s…

In the first practice the committee watch, they are playing special attention to the performance of one of their special performers – a wee guy called Ryan Flynn. Easily beaten by an emerging talent from the east end of Glasgow, Greg Taylor, during last weekend’s event, Flynn can be seen balancing at the end of the first board in the diving pool. Flynn easily performs a double pike with extended practice.

Mr. Goodwin frowns as he cannot understand why that was not performed the previous weekend. In fact, he looks back at his notes to see that it was. Why did the referee then call foul for it?

Rather than be congratulated, Flynn is sent to the second board, by his scowling coach with a curt nod of the head. Mr. Goodwin then looks up at the committee to see some discussions amongst the committee.

They do not look happy.

At the second board, Flynn executes a perfect, double somersault with extended pike whilst the committee are joined by a shadowy figure who emerges from the back of the auditorium.

Mr. Goodwin instantly recognizes them as the West of Scotland Invitational event compliance officer. Feared amongst many, a joke to some, his powers are extensive but his abilities and the exercise of those sweeping powers are always the subject of intense debate – not least amongst all the coaches and clubs in the West Coast.

A few moments of discussion with the committee and the compliance officer leaves with one of them in toe.

Mr. Goodwin frowns more intently… It’s hard to see how… but he does…

Knowing that Mr. Flynn has one more dive to do – off the top board, the Dale as it is known colloquially, Mr. Goodwin stops him as he goes past. He instructs Mr. Flynn as he passes to “make it as good as the one done by that guy from Edinburgh, Murphy.”

Mr. Flynn squints at Mr. Goodwin. “You mean Jamie Murphy?” he asks.

Mr. Goodwin nods and watches Mr. Flynn climb the stairs. He snatches a look at the committee one more time. Things look ominous. Mr. Goodwin starts to worry just as Mr. Flynn passes him in what looks like a belly flop. The splash in the water is heard throughout the pool. What is also heard is the expletives coming from Mr. Flynn when he emerges and the laughter from the top board where there are divers from the Greenock club all sniggering…

One of them steps forward to goad Mr. Goodwin with “I just touched his shoulder then pulled away very quickly, his legs fell away beneath him! He wasn’t tripped or kicked falling over. I’d be embarrassed if I was him watching that back. I’d really be cringing.”

Mr. Goodwin sees the committee rising, all apart from the head of it who shakes his head. He indicates the room at the end of the pool where disciplinary action is normally taken.

Mr. Goodwin then remembers that he had an outburst after the event and starts to remember some of the things he said. He is now aware that, rather than deal with the issues he raised he is about to be given the boot for having raised them at all…

If only he had the video evidence of what went on…


Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an original tale, there is no evidence that Jim Goodwin has ever been bested by anyone from Greenock in a pool, this is therefore not true, though Mr. Goodwin did talk over the week about divers in the Scottish game.

During the week, Jim Goodwin, manager at St. Mirren, complained of a joke penalty given to Celtic in their 4-0 defeat. He also went on in his BBC interview to claim, “Ryan Flynn touches Greg Taylor’s shoulder then pulls away very quickly. Then Greg Taylor’s legs fall away beneath him. I can understand players if they are tripped or kicked falling over. I can’t understand how players can fall over when someone touches their shoulder. We’ve had similar against Hibs three games ago. It seems to be certain individuals who are very good at it and very clever. Not every little bit of contact in the area is a penalty. Hibs got a penalty the other day against Aberdeen and again it was the same player involved. It’s just minimal contact. I’d be embarrassed if I was some of these players watching these incidents back. I’d really be cringing. We need to start naming and shaming. The compliance officer needs to get involved more and suspensions need to be handed out to these individuals. And it needs to be consistent as that’s the frustration for everyone in the game.” A response from the SFA has yet to be heard.

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