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Friday, 27 March 2015

Bobby Gould: “Stevie Cotterill a manager? Never, ever ever!"

Bobby Gould talks City, Rovers, the Steve’s Lansdown and Cotterill, Wimbledon and Gareth Bale

It’s not often one gets the chance to interview a footballing star, someone who has played at the highest level, won trophies as a manager and become a household name, so when I was offered the chance to interview ex-City player Bobby Gould, I jumped at the chance.

Bobby started his career at Coventry City alongside then assistant manager Alan Dicks, before a series of moves every couple of years. He was one of the first ‘nomadic’ footballers, quite uniquely playing for nine different clubs, never playing fewer than 34 games but never more than 82 in any one place.

Bobby’s Bristol City career never really got going, despite joining because of the influence of then-manager Alan Dicks who he had played with at Coventry City.
“I came down in 1972 from West Bromwich Albion who I thought were going to get relegated, and Alan had been assistant to Jimmy Hill but also played in the reserves, so had been a team mate of mine as well.  As a person, Alan had a huge influence in my junior career and he taught me a lot. But by the time I rejoined him, there had been quite a gap.  I thought they were an up and coming team so thought it was a good move but unfortunately we clashed and it didn’t work out.  I’d been to Arsenal, Wolves and West Brom, whilst Alan had become a manager.”

However, the move wasn’t all bad for Gould as it provided him the place to settle down and make his home after a bizarre glance in an estate agents window.
“I didn’t have any regrets at all about coming because one day I was walking up Park Street and saw this upside-down house for sale in a place called Portishead.  I went out there, and went to the Cabstand and just saw this special place. The view across the Severn Estuary, it was truly special.  I saw this upside-down house which backed onto the water and not long after I phoned my wife to tell her I’d bought a house. We moved in and have lived in the town ever since. I think I’ll be carried out of here.”

Gould played for City in a period where the nucleus of the team that would go on to reach the First Division was being built, and has fond memories of the dressing-room spirit.
“We had a giggle. They were a great set of lads. As soon as I joined the likes of Gerry Sweeney and Gerry Gow, who were the Scottish comedians, gave me the nickname ‘The Snip’. I had no idea what they were on about, but they explained it was nothing to do with a man’s operation but that they thought I was a snip at my transfer fee of around sixty grand. It stuck as well”

Gould has a past with current city boss Steve Cotterill and had quite a revelation about his former charge.
“I found him playing for Burton Albion and signed him for Wimbledon so yeah, I gave him his break as a professional. But never, ever, ever in a month of Sunday’s did I think he would be a manager! He must have learned something off me, good, bad or ugly!

“Seriously though, he’s similar to me in many ways. We both share that passion for football and the guts to go and be a manager. What he’s achieved this year has been phenomenal.  If they don’t go on to get promotion now they need their backsides kicking!”

It was impossible to interview Bobby without touching upon the moment he’s probably most famous for – guiding Wimbledon to a remarkable fairy-tale F.A. Cup triumph over the mighty Liverpool in 1988.
“Nobody can ever take it away from you. I recall Vinnie (Jones) was prancing about on the pitch with the cup and I got hold of him and just said ‘make this walk around the pitch the longest walk of your life. You might never come back here again but this is something you can tell your grandchildren about’. I went as a substitute with West Brom in 1975 but never got on.

“We had no chance in ’88. The best chance we’d have had is if we’d turned up and played cricket! We had that team spirit and the bonding that Stevie clearly has at Bristol City and Sunday was fantastic for them.”

Bobby was speaking ahead of the Bristol regional heat to find the 'People's Pundit' championed by Carlsberg, the official beer of the Premier League, and had this to say about the competition.
 “For everyone out there – if I can get where I’ve got in the media world, anyone can. My English teacher, Mr. Bennett wouldn’t believe it! It’s sacrilege really. If anyone thinks they want to do it and have got the ability, then come and give it a go and enter the competition. You never know.

During Gould’s time at City Harry Dolman ruled the roost and Gould drew parallels with those days and the current situation with owner Steve Lansdown and the new stadium being built.
“Harry was building the club and where would the club be now without Steve doing the same? He’s had difficult times but some good and great times. Enjoy the moments. The amount of money he’s put into the football club is incredible, but he’s never quite forgiven me for getting him out LBW when he was playing cricket!

“The new stadium is long overdue. The prospect has always been raised of City and Rovers playing the same stadium, but that was never going to happen.  What’s happening at the moment is phenomenal, but it’s great to see both Bristol sides top of their leagues.

"If City can get promotion and then go on again, it would be fantastic to see Premier League football down here. Look at Swansea, they’ve managed it.”

Gould joined Bristol Rovers a few years after leaving City but again, has no regrets and faced little animosity from Rovers fans but doesn’t understand the rivalry which came to the fore last season.
“I couldn’t have given a monkeys. I’m a professional and had to pay the mortgage so I’ll sign for whoever I thought was the best option. Rovers fans welcomed me too because I scored a hat-trick in my first match for them and they thought they had the best signing they’d ever had! I just hope we never see scenes like we did last time there was a local derby again. Football’s about passion and competition but you have to walk away, shake hands and wish your opponent well.” 

Finally, Gould – an ex Wales manager – explained how this international break will be perfect timing for Gareth Bale following his recent trials and tribulations at Real Madrid.
“I watched that game on the artificial pitch in Andorra and believe me, they’re awful pitches to play on. I couldn’t believe they were playing international football on a pitch like that.

"Then suddenly, with Wales struggling, one fella got the game by the scruff of the neck and ever since then he’s become the leader of the pack. I never thought Gareth had it in him, to be that person. I tell you what, he’s grown up a lot.

"This period of time with the Welsh lads, speaking English, will do him the world of good. I went to Norway for two years and it’s not easy. He’ll enjoy being with them for a week and will go back to Real Madrid a lot happier.”

My thanks to Carlsberg and TalkSport who gave me this opportunity. Here are the details about the pundit competition Bobby mentioned earlier.

"The mission of the Carlsberg fan squad is to make football better for fans. That's why, If Carlsberg did Pundits…they'd probably be just like you.

Carlsberg and talkSPORT have joined forces to give one fan their big break on national radio and next Thursday sees the potential pundits face off in Bristol.

If you fancy watching our pundits take each other on, alongside Bobby, head to the V-Shed, The Waterfront, Canons Road, Bristol at 8pm.

Find out more at ThePeoplesPundit.co.uk #PeoplesPundit

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