Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Saturday, June 5, 1999 Published at 22:25 GMT 23:25 UK

Sport: Football

An Englishman over the border

Gould made his name in Wimbledon's 1988 win over Liverpool

Outgoing Welsh manager Bobby Gould is one of football's more uncoventional bosses and was a surprise choice when selected as Wales manager four years ago.

Wales had just suffered the agony of narrowly missing out on qualification for World Cup 94 under Terry Yorath.

Then there was the embarrassment of John Toshack walking out after a handful of games before the short reign of Mike Smith saw Wales crash in qualification for Euro 96.

Gould made his name managing Wimbledon to FA Cup glory in 1988 and had previously been in charge at Bristol Rovers.

His playing career took in a number of clubs including Coventry and West Browmich Albion, both of whom he managed after his time with Wimbledon.

After that he did media work, including hosting a football phone-in on Sky television, before the FAW called to offer an unexpected chance to compete on the highest stage.

"I have had four wonderful years and never thought I would experience international football," he said after tendering his resignation on Saturday night.

'Greatest challenge'

Upon taking over in 1995, he said it was "the greatest challenge" of his managerial career.

It would be a privilege to work with world class names such as Ryan Giggs, Neville Southall and Ian Rush, while young players such as John Hartson emerged.

But in the event Gould decided Rush was not a first-choice striker for the qualifying campaign and Hartson only started three of the 12 games.

Even Giggs was warned about his place after he pulled out of a meaningless friendly against the Republic of Ireland.

Although he gave Southall a coaching role, he never appointed an experienced number two to share the burden.

And the eccentric manager even once wore a Max Wall wig at a squad announcement.

Englishman abroad

Such characters are only tolerated if they bring success, particularly when they are an Englishman in Wales.

And the Welsh never accepted the man who once offered to give complaining West Brom fans a lift to an away game so they could all discuss their grievances along the way.

[ image: Nathan Blake: Racism row]
Nathan Blake: Racism row
His cause was not helped by heavy defeats by the Netherlands and Turkey on the way to failure in the World Cup 98 qualification campaign.

His position became even more precarious when striker Nathan Blake accused him of making a racist joke at his own expense and a similar remark about Holland striker Pierre Van Hooijdonk.

Gould refuted the allegations and vowed to fight to keep his job and clear his name.

And calls for him to go were at their height when his team produced their best series of results last autumn.

The unlikely wins against Denmark and Belarus gave Wales a strong chance of finishing in second place in their qualification group and going forward to a qualifying play-off for Euro 2000.

But defeat in Switzerland in March was followed by Saturday's predictable setback in Italy and Gould felt he had come to end end of the road.

"I made a decision after the overall performance, and what I witnessed," he explained.

"I felt it was necessary for Wales."

The succession

Gould himself now intends to return to club management.

And the Englishman hopes that the next Wales coach will be a Welshman.

Candidates include former Everton defender Kevin Ratcliffe, who has been manager of Chester, and Gillingham's Tony Pulis, who just failed to reach the First Division last week.

Wrexham's Brian Flynn is also a favourite who has legendary Welsh stars Rush and Joey Jones on his coaching staff.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

Football Contents

In this section

Collins calls it a day for Scots

Derby double swoop fails

From Special Report
Keegan accused over late night

White Rose rivals meet again

McIlroy tipped for NI role

League to rule on Sky shares

Keane talks to resume

From Special Report
We'll be back for World Cup - Brown

From Special Report
Keegan insists England can triumph

Irish to appeal after brawl

Israel demands soccer sex scandal inquiry

From Special Report
I've rarely seen anything worse

From Special Report
An almost unbelievable turnaround

SA kidnap shocks soccer coach

From Special Report
Police claim play-off success

From Special Report
England book Euro 2000 place

From Special Report
We've a long way to go - Keegan

Turks bury Irish dream

From Special Report
We deserved to qualify - Hendry

Slovenia to make Euro debut

From Special Report
England v Scotland - picture gallery

From Special Report
What they said