St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin was delivering passports and other items as part of his living this time two years ago – now the sky is the limit for him and his football club.

The Buddies boss and his assistant Lee Sharp have penned long-term Paisley extensions until the summer of 2024, much-needed managerial stability for St Mirren. Since Gus MacPherson’s departure in 2010, the Saints have gone through nine different permanent managers, including Goodwin.

St. Mirren v Motherwell - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

A new deal for Goodwin. (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick is delighted to make the Irishman the Buddies’ highest-paid manager: “The Board has recognised the excellent results and progress this season under Jim and to continue developing as a club we see this as an integral piece of the plan.

“Jim has been given one of the highest player budgets of any St Mirren Manager and he is now the highest paid manager in club’s history. The immediate focus will continue to be on Jim leading the team to a potential top 6 finish.

“This deal allows everyone to plan longer term to bring further success to our Club.  We are an ambitious Club and we believe with Jim ambitions we have an exciting, successfully future ahead.”

St Mirren v Rangers - Betfred Cup Quarter-Final

A new deal is signed. (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Goodwin himself is ambitious. Numerous statements have been made over St Mirren’s top six prospects, many scoffing at the idea the Paisley side could crack the top six for the first time in their history.

Under his watch, Goodwin wants those top six finishes regularly alongside cup finals: “I’m delighted to be extending my contract here at the club, it was a very straightforward process. It wasn’t dragged out, we had conversations last week and got everything agreed over the weekend.

“We have come a long way in my 18 or 19 months as manager. I’m delighted that I will be here to carry on the progress we have been making. It’s a good contract and it shows a level of commitment from the club to me, which I am grateful for.

St. Mirren v Rangers - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Grateful for the support. (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

“It’s important for the overall stability of club because of the recent turnover of managers, it’s important we don’t continue in that vein. I have a vision of where I want to take the club and when I first spoke to the board, I have always spoke of the club matching my ambitions.

“It takes time to build that trust. The recruitment side of things is always important and if you make too many bad signings, the board sometimes are reluctant to give you the money required to improve things. I am fortunate they have backed me in every window.

“I think we are only at the tip of the iceberg. We made some bold statements in the summer about becoming a top six club consistently and we are right in the mix at the moment. It’s about making progress every year.

St. Mirren v St. Johnstone - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Making progress. (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

“Even as a player, I felt the club underachieved, we didn’t quite have the success I feel we should have had. Everyone talks about the 2013 League Cup, our last piece of silverware, but we should be aiming for cup finals every year. That has to be our aim.”

Goodwin’s more than just a manager at St Mirren, he’s ‘heavily’ invested off the park too, and he wants to give back to the loyal fans who’ve supported the Buddies through the bad and the good.

He said: “I’m heavily involved in a number of different parts of the club. I work closely with the St Mirren Charitable Foundation, we have done some great things in the community.

 

“The people of Paisley have been a great support in my time and I felt that particular moment in the summer (during Scotland’s first lockdown), it was a good opportunity for me to give something back. It’s all well and good me getting my photo taken delivering meals during lockdown but that’s the easy part.

“I have a great relationship with Gayle Brannigan (St Mirren Charitable Foundations chief executive) and she deserves all the credit. She does incredible work in the community.

“Commercially, I want to help in that department. If they need me to be the front of the organisation and speak to major sponsors then I am happy to do that. And of course, the academy, it’s a huge part of our club.

St. Mirren v Dundee United - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

On and off the pitch work. (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

“I hope to build on that and develop the next young stars for the first team. I think we are doing ok on that front at the moment. Ethan Erhahon, Cammy MacPherson and Kyle McAllister, there’s not many teams with three academy players regularly kicking about their first team.”

Goodwin’s not exactly had an easy rise to where he is now. Just two years ago he was out of professional football, learning his management trade with Alloa Athletic alongside a full-time job outside of football.

That’s given him the inspiration to become the best manager he can be: “I am extremely ambitious and that’s why I have committed to the club for the next three seasons. The club matches my ambition.

Matching his ambition. (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

“I am not going to say I will be at St Mirren for the next 15 years of my life. Hopefully everything goes according to plan, we win silverware over the next three years and become the top six side I know we can be.

“If we do that, then I might be given the opportunity to manage at a bigger club. But that isn’t in my mindset just now. Two years ago I was driving a van, I had set my own courier business up.

“I was going about delivering passports to people and different things. My run was down in Stranraer and I had that run five days of the week, horrendous 16 or 17 hour days. This is a joy for me to be here.

All smiles at St Mirren. (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

“It’s everything I dreamed of as a young kid. I have had two or three years out of senior football and I am determined not to go back to that. I take my hat off to those who work 40 or 50 hour weeks. I respect you, but this what I am doing just now, I am well-paid for doing something I love.”

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