Plymothian Fred Binney was a young hopeful in a very good Torquay United team when he joined Exeter City on loan in 1969. Returning to St James’ Park to sign permanently in 1970 he totalled 90 goals in 177 league matches for the Grecians before leaving for Brighton in 1974. Subsequently featuring for Plymouth Argyle and Hereford United, Fred scored 181 times in a 379-game Football League career.
On leaving school Fred became an apprentice at Devonport Dockyard whilst continuing to play for Launceston and midweek side John Conway. Spotted by Torquay United, and initially signed on amateur forms, he turned professional in October 1966. He was a regular scorer for Torquay's Western League reserve side but was was kept out of the first-team by the form of Robin Stubbs and made relatively few senior outings.
He was loaned to Exeter City in February 1969 and immediately showed his potential by netting 11 times in 17 league games. His debut for the Grecians was in a 4-2 home win over Bradford Park Avenue with Fred scoring one of the goals. Returning to Torquay, he had a decent run in the side but was allowed to leave with the Grecians securing his signature on a more permanent basis in March 1970 when he returned to St James’ Park for a fee of £4,000.
Although he asked for a transfer in September 1971, the following season Fred scored 28 league goals for Exeter making him the joint-top goal scorer for the season in the entire Football League. The following season he was voted the PFA Division Four Player of the Year as he scored another 25 times. With this sort of goal-scoring form it was no surprise that other clubs started to take notice and City turned down an offer from Swindon Town in November 1973 reported to be between £35,000 and £40,000.
After winning the club's player of the year award for 1973/74 Fred signed for Brighton & Hove Albion manager, then managed by Brian Clough, for a fee of £25,000 in May 1974 with John Templeman and Lammie Robertson arriving at Exeter in part-exchange. His second season at the Goldstone Ground was his most successful when he scored 23 league goals as Brighton narrowly missed out on promotion.
In 1977, after 35 league goals in just 70 games and after helping Brighton to promotion in his final season, he moved to the United States signing for St Louis Stars for the summer season. He returned to Devon in October 1977 when linking up with Plymouth Argyle on a free transfer. After taking a while to settle Fred netted 28 goals in 1978/79 which won him the club’s Player of the Year honour.
In January 1980 he was transferred to Hereford United where he also took his coaching qualifications. After scoring 6 goals in 27 league matches he was appointed assistant manager at Hereford to Frank Lord. When Frank left to take up an appointment with the Malaysian national team Fred followed as his assistant.
He was back at St James’ Park in 1985 as he became an assistant to manager Colin Appleton. But, when Appleton was sacked in December 1987, Fred also left becoming recreation officer at Plymouth University where he later became President and coach of the University of Plymouth football club.
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