Obituary: Peter Goy (1938-2021)

Lee Morris

Lee Morris

5 min read

Peter Goy (Heritage Number 411) had already enjoyed a decent career before he arrived at Huddersfield Town in 1965.

Although he hailed from Beverley in Yorkshire, Goy was playing for Lincolnshire Boys in a county representative match against Derbyshire Boys in 1953 when he was spotted by a scout from Arsenal. Soon afterwards, he got the call to go to Highbury, signing as part of the ground staff.

After two years as an apprentice, Goy signed professional forms at the club in June 1955. Despite this, he was a member of the youth team that won the South East Counties League championship at the end of the 1955-56 season. During his time at the club, he found himself down the pecking order, with Jack Kelsey and Jim Standen ahead of him for the No.1 goalkeeping spot.

As with all players in those days, Goy was called up for his National Service during his time at Highbury. He went into the British Army, where he served as a Lance Bombardier in the Royal Artillery. It was during this time that he was finally called up to Arsenal’s first team, in February 1959, after Jack Kelsey had broken his arm. Goy was actually summoned from his base in Wiltshire and told he would be playing the following night. He helped Arsenal to a 1-0 win at home to Leeds United.

Goy was to make one more appearance in May 1959, the final game of the season, with Arsenal winning 2-1 against Birmingham City. He subsequently signed for Southend United on a free transfer in October 1960. Initially, he was the understudy to the first-choice goalkeeper there but soon made the No.1 jersey his own. He went on to play 124 games for the club in a four year spell, becoming a fan’s favourite in the process. He eventually left Southend to sign for Watford in 1964.

Goy’s time at Vicarage Road was short lived, lasting just a year and 27 league games before he left to join Town. He made the move to Leeds Road in July 1965 and spent the 1965-66 season in the reserves, deputising for first team goalkeeper John Oldfield, who played all 42 games that season. 

By the time the 1966-67 season began, Oldfield was still in the side, but when October came around he had a bad spell and was displaced by Goy. His first team debut for Town came at Leeds Road in a 1-1 draw with Plymouth Argyle where he impressed the manager, Tom Johnston. He remained between the sticks for the next game, a 1-0 away win against Northampton Town, Goy’s first clean sheet for the club.

A 2-0 home win against Millwall followed, another clean sheet in Goy’s third game. His fourth and final game for Town came in an away match against Rotherham United, which ended in a 4-2 loss. He would play no further part in any first team games at the club but returned to his place in the reserves, with John Oldfield returning to the first team. 

Goy spoke about his time at the club a couple of weeks before he passed away “I enjoyed my time at the club. I didn’t make a great impact but managed four games. John Oldfield was the keeper but I got in when he had a bit of a bad patch.”

Most of Goy’s time was spent in the reserve team at Leeds Road:

“I have fond memories of Henry Cockburn, who looked after the reserve team, though there wasn’t a lot of coaching for goalkeepers back then, just get your running done then a bit of handling after! I’ve still got my Huddersfield tie tucked away in the cupboard.”

He echoed the thoughts of a number of players from his generation by saying, “I think we would have been better players, with the present-day coaching and knowhow”.

Towards the end of the 1966-67 season, Goy left the club and moved to South Africa in April 1967. He once joked in an interview that the reason for leaving for South Africa was that the snow was about three foot deep in Huddersfield! He initially played for Appollen Port Elizabeth, though they went bankrupt just a season after his arrival. He then moved to Hellenic, where he played in front of crowds of over 20,000. 

By 1969, two years after his arrival in the country, Goy was on his way home with the National League Goalkeeper of the Year award under his belt and some good memories. Once back in the UK, he signed for Colchester United, but this didn’t last long. He went on to have short spells with Cambridge United, Tonbridge and combined playing and managing at non-league Epping Town for a time before eventually hanging up his boots in the early 1970s. He initially try his hand at refereeing and took some of his badges but eventually gave it up as he felt that having been a professional himself, he would know all the tricks that players pull and would spend far too much time stopping and starting the games.

Following his retirement from football, Goy set up his own business, Rayleigh Silkscreen Services, in 1974, specialising in silkscreen printing. He went on to live in retirement in Shoeburyness, Essex, and managed Southend club Catholic United, played local cricket and bowls and could often be found golfing at Thorpe Hall Golf Club. 

He was occasionally invited back to Southend United in recent years, being a member of their Formers Players Association, and also attended Arsenal’s final game at Highbury in 2006, after accepting an invitation from the club to be at the game.

Peter is survived by his wife Sandra. The thoughts of HTSA are with Sandra and the rest of Peter’s family at this sad time.

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