ALLOA signed player Jim Goodwin, but Mike Mulraney knew he had also found a future manager.
Nearly six years later, the Wasp chairman is not surprised to see Goody land one of the best jobs in Scotland at Aberdeen.
Goodwin was ending his playing career when Jack Ross took him to Alloa in the summer of 2016.
A few months later, his assistant left for St. Mirren, and Mulraney did not need to think twice about who to appoint to replace him.
From the moment he met Goodwin, he was certain that he would be Alloa’s boss. His instinct was correct.
Now, after a successful run at St. Mirren, the Dons are headhunting for the Irishman.
Mulraney believes that Pittodrie chief Dave Cormack has a natural leader in his hands as he backed the 40-year-old Goodwin to make it big.
He said SunSport: “At the time, it was an easy decision to give Jim Alloa’s job.
“When he came to the club, he had a plan. He has stated this in the past.
“He could have gone to other clubs instead of Alloa. But he chose us because we have a reputation for giving people a chance. The managers did a good job and moved forward, and Jim could see it.
“That’s why he came to us, although after Jack left, he got the job a little faster than expected.
“But he was clearly a leader in the park during his playing career and I was confident that he would be a leader outside the park as a manager. It was.
“Jim always seemed like a future manager to me, and proof that pudding is in the food.”
Goodwin led Alloa to promotion to the Championship and kept them there before moving to St Mirren in the summer of 2019.
Paisley had its ups and downs, but the Irishman led friends to two cup semi-finals and a seventh-place finish last season.
St Mirren is currently ranked sixth in the race for a spot in Europe – and Goodwin’s work hasn’t gone unnoticed elsewhere.
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Aberdeen moved quickly after Stephen Glass was sacked and Goodwin signed a two and a half year contract with Pittodrie.
Mulraney believes he will succeed, but he also believes that Goodwin will impress in any line of business.
He briefly worked as a salesman for Cadbury when he retired as a football player.
But its old chairman, Alloa, believes football will always beat chocolate.
Mulraney added: “Jim is a thoughtful, capable guy. No matter what area of work he turned his attention to, Jim would do a good job.
“He chose to be a football manager because it is his passion.
“Jim has been successful, but I’m sure it would have been the same in any industry.
He’s just a measured person and that really helps him in all the decisions he has to make.”
Goodwin will be under much more pressure at Aberdeen than at Alloa or St Mirren.
The Dons have only won two trophies in 32 years, but that doesn’t stop their fans from demanding success.
Goodwin is expected to fight for silver and Europe, but Mulraney is confident he can pull it off.
He said: “Jim will handle any pressure that is placed on him, no matter what environment he finds himself in. I really believe in it.
“He thinks about things and considers everything.
“So Jim is really good at estimating and then implementing his plans.
“He did a really good job at Alloa, the same thing happened at St Mirren, but that doesn’t surprise me.
“Like I said, he will succeed no matter what industry he decides to work in when he stops playing.”
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Mulraney has had more hits than misses with managerial appointments since he arrived in Alloa over a decade ago.
Paul Hartley led the Wasps to a promotion before he became prime minister with Dundee.
Ross is another success story: the former Alloa executive has gone on to several high-profile positions since the move.
Goodwin joined a group of promising trainers who were honing their skills at Indodrill.
SFA Vice President Mulraney refuses to take responsibility for their development, insisting instead that they would have been successful anywhere.
But he admits he’s glad Alloa played a part in their growth as managers.
He added: “Is it pride? I’d say it’s more of a quiet satisfaction that we’ve played a small part in the development of these guys.
“It was great to have them at Alloa, but as I always say, they would have developed as managers anyway.
“They are great coaches and great managers and I’m sure they would have been successful anyway.
“The fact that we gave them their first chance at Alloa is fantastic.
“But I’m sure we’re not responsible for their success. We are just a part of it.”
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