Where Are They Now - Fred Binney
Peverell Green continues his excellent 'Where Are They Now' series with a look at the career of Argyle striker Fred Binney.
FRED BINNEY - Born 12th August 1946 Plymouth.
Fred, a local boy was born and grew up on the Barbican, and given he ended up scoring nearly 200 league goals in 397 games, a goal in every other game, he has to be classed as one that got away.
He was a prolific scorer when playing junior football for CM Department Juniors and was later signed by South Western League team Launceston.
He combined his football career with working as an apprentice in Devonport Dockyard. He also played for John Conway in the Devon Wednesday League. It was at this time he was spotted by Don Mills, a scout for Torquay United.
He initially signed on as an amateur for Torquay, signing professional forms with them in October 1966. His initial appearances for them were restricted to the reserves, playing in the Western League.
He made his debut the following season in September 1967. He still wasn't a regular first teamer and in February 1969 was loaned out to neighbours Exeter City.
Finally getting an extended first team run, in his loan period Fred scored 11 goals in 17 appearances.
When he returned to Torquay he still wasn't able to play regular first team football and in March 1970 was sold to Exeter for a fee of £35,000.
In three seasons at Plainmoor he only made 34 appearances but still managed 11 goals.
An almost ever present in the four seasons he spent at Exeter led to him scoring 28 goals in 1972-73 season, ending up as the Football League joint top goalscorer with Pop Robson of West Ham.
At the end of the following season he had scored another 25 goals and was the PFA Division 4 Player of the Year. Including his loan spell he made 177 league appearance scoring 90 goals.
Not surprisingly his goalscoring was noticed by teams from higher divisions. He was eventually signed by Brian Clough for Brighton & Hove Albion for a fee of £25,000 with John Templeman and Lammie Robertson moving to Exeter.
In his second season at the Goldstone Ground Fred scored 23 league goals, with Brighton just missing out on promotion to Division 2. In his final season at Brighton his goals helped his club win promotion. While at Brighton he scored an impressive 35 goals from 70 appearances.
In 1977 Fred moved to the United States, playing for St. Louis Stars in the NASL, playing alongside players like Pele in front of crowds of nearly 70,000.
In less than a season he scored 9 goals in only 18 appearances to keep up his average of a goal in every other game.
In October 1977 Fred returned to his hometown when he was signed by Mike Kelly on a free transfer, making his debut in a 2-2 home draw with Shrewsbury, scoring his first goal for the club two matches later in a 2-1 win away to Rotherham.
He scored another 8 goals in his first season at Argyle including two in a 5-1 thrashing of Portsmouth at Fratton Park in March Even though he scored 9 goals in 18 games he wasn't able to command a regular first team place in an Argyle team struggling to avoid a second successive relegation.
The following season saw a turnaround in Fred's fortune.
Playing for Malcolm Allison he scored a total of 28 goals, was the team's leading goalscorer and also voted 'Player of the Year'.
His goals included two against his old club Torquay to knock them out of the League Cup and a hat trick in a 3-2 win against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
The following season saw a complete change again, as he suddenly fell from favour, not fitting in with new manager Bobby Saxton's plans, even though he had already scored four league goals in only seven games and was transferred to Hereford in October 1979 for £37,000. While playing for Argyle he continued his goal every other game ratio by scoring a total of 42 goals in 81 games. 40 of those goals came while Malcolm Allison was his manager.
While at Hereford he managed six goals in 27 appearances, and realising at 33 his best footballing years were behind him, he qualified as a coach and was appointed assistant manager to ex-Argyle striker, Frank Lord, now manager at Hereford.
When in 1982 Frank left to take up the manager's job of the Malaysia national team, Fred soon followed as team coach. He returned to England in 1985 to take up the position of assistant manager under Colin Appleton at Exeter City.
When Appleton was sacked in December 1987, Fred also left, becoming Recreation Officer at Plymouth University, he later became President and coach of the University of Plymouth football club.
Football must run in the family, in 2004 his eldest son Adam followed him into football coaching as manager of the Longbrooke Football Club in Exeter.
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