Doncaster-born Len Goodson joined Rovers from the local team Marshgate Institute in March 1900. He made an instant impact scoring his first goals for the club, a hat-trick, against Rushden in an 8-1 Midland League win. Len finished a highly promising debut season with seven League goals.
The following season, 1900-01, he enjoyed his best season scoring 20 league goals including two hat-tricks as he helped Rovers finish runners-up in the Midland League. Subsequently Rovers were invited to take up a vacant place in the Football League for 1901-02, and Len marked the club’s debut by scoring Rovers’ first two Football League goals in a 3-3 draw with Burslem Port Vale. Len was a regular member of the side, playing at inside-forward, which finished seventh in Division Two, still Rovers’ highest League placing.
In December 1902 Len was transferred to First Division Middlesbrough for a substantial fee, which helped Rovers to build a new stand at the Intake Ground. He made 35 League appearances in three seasons at the north-eastern club, before re-joining Rovers in 1905-06 for their Midland League campaign. Operating mainly on the left wing, he scored four goals in 31 Midland League game. After a spell back with Marshgate, he made a brief comeback for Rovers in the second half of the 1908-09 season, scoring twice and contributing to a run of 13 wins in 17 Midland League matches.
Len, who worked outside football as a labourer, did not marry and died aged only 41 in Doncaster in February 1922. He will always be remembered as the man who scored Rovers’ first Football League goals.
Rovers League Debut: 7th September 1901, Division Two vs. Burslem Port Vale (home) Drew 3-3.
Final League game: 29th November 1902, Division Two vs. Chesterfield (home). Lost 3-4.
Rovers Career: Football League: 38 appearances, 6 goals.
Honours with Rovers: Midland League runner-up 1900-01