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Wednesday, 20 June, 2001, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Goodway ready for new challenge
Andy Goodway in action for Wigan
Goodway admits he is interested in the Warrington job
By BBC Sport's Dave Woods

His nickname as a player was "BA" - short for Bad Attitude.

Yet his Wigan and Great Britain colleague Denis Betts once described him as the most inspirational player he ever packed down with.

He's been coach of his country and of top club sides, yet for two years he's been out in the coaching wilderness without anyone wanting to offer him a job.

So is Andy Goodway a rugby league enigma? Or is he simply misunderstood?

With Warrington in search of a new coach for next season, Goodway's name has been strongly linked with the impending Wilderspool vacancy.

You never lose the hunger to coach
  Andy Goodway

Some will greet that news with raised eyebrows.

But a careful study of Goodway the man and his career leads only to bewilderment that he isn't in constant demand on the coaching merry-go-round.

Not that Goodway has been involved in rugby league since his departure from the Wigan and Great Britain roles in quick succession in the winter of '99.

"I was approached by the GMB shortly after I left Wigan and asked if I would like to be the chairman of the players' union," says Goodway, in the unmistakable voice that sounds like he sandpapers his tonsils.

"The job involves looking after the players interests, making sure their voice is heard and seeing to it that they are represented at all levels.

"My remit was to raise the profile of the players' association, and I'd like to think I've been successful at that. I'm enjoying it immensely."

But for all that he is making a difference behind the scenes with players issues, you sense part of him would love to make a difference with a bunch of players out on the pitch.

"You never lose the hunger to coach," he admits. "But once I've committed myself to something, I'll take it as far as I can. Then when it's time to move on, you move on.

Andy Gregory in action for Wigan
Andy Gregory nicknamed Goodway "BA"
"The RLPA (Rugby League Players' Asscociation) allows me to see players, meet players and management, set some criteria and set agendas that I could never set as a coach.

"However, I've coached at the highest level and I can cut it as a coach.

"I can take the pressure, I'm innovative and I think the players respect me for what I know."

So what of the Warrington job? Does he fancy taking on what would undoubtedly be a tough job with the Wire?

He said: "It would be nice to be considered. And if the opportunity arose, I would certainly consider it."

Don't mistake that last quote as Goodway avoiding the question.

That's something he's never done, either as a player, a coach or union rep.

But that leads us to where Goodway feels he is a little misunderstood.

"The 'BA' - Bad Attitude - thing came from when I was at Wigan. I think Andy Gregory gave me that name because I had a 'devil may care' take on life.

"But I don't think it was justified, because in two areas I was always 100%. I always turned up to train and I always turned up to play."

Goodway had a reputation for cutting no corners on the training paddock or on the pitch. It helped make him one of the most feared forwards of his generation.

Former Warrington coach Darryl Van de Velde
Van de Velde's exit could make way for Goodway
But his off-the-field persona did not endear him to many who didn't know him well.

"I'm not a controversial bloke, but I am abrasive," he admits, "but I've no personal agenda, my agenda is the game. I say what I believe is best for the game.

"I think I'm a decent bloke, I want to do the right thing. I'll never knowingly do anything wrong behind anyone's back, I'm always up front.

"I think most journalists accepted that. I would always take what they wrote about me, that's part of the game, but I gave as good as I got.

"And I've never been frightened to speak my mind. Sometimes its worked for me, sometimes it hasn't."

He looks, talks and played hard, but he also seems to have only just recovered from the hurt of the double set-back of losing his two dream jobs - coach of Great Britain and Wigan.

Those learning experiences, coupled with spells in charge at Oldham and Paris St Germain, have made him wiser, and it would seem very employable as a coach after his two year sabbatical.

If Warrington do look elsewhere for a replacement for Darryl Van De Velde, it can only be a matter of time before "BA" is back in the coaching fold.

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