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Bobby Gould
Full name Robert Anthony Gould
Nationality Eng England
Rovers apps (goals)a 36 (12)
Position Forward
Date of birth 12 June 1946
in Coventry
Height 5 ft 10 in
October 1977 from Wolverhampton Wanderers
September 1978 to join Hereford United
Senior clubs Teams managed
Coventry City
Wolverhampton Wanderers
West Bromwich Albion
Bristol City
West Ham United
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Bristol Rovers
Hereford United
Chelsea (caretaker)
Bristol Rovers
Coventry City
Bristol Rovers
West Bromwich Albion
Coventry City
Cardiff City
Cheltenham Town
a League appearances and goals only
Last updated by Gasheadsteve on 22/11/2011

Robert Alfred Gould, better known as Bobby Gould, had three spells at Bristol Rovers – one as player-coach and two as manager.

As a player he made 36 league appearances (including one from the bench) and scored twelve times in just under a year with the club. His two stints as manager saw him take charge of a combined total of 196 games, winning 71 of them, drawing 42 and losing 83.

His first spell as manager, from October 1981 to May 1983, was his most successful, winning 40 out of 91 games and winning both Gloucestershire Cup matches played under his stewardship. He left Rovers in 1983 to take charge of his home town club, and the team where he started his playing career, Coventry City, but returned to Eastville two years later. His second spell with the Pirates saw him win 31, draw 25 and lose 49, before leaving to take charge of Wimbledon in 1987, who he guided to a shock FA Cup final win over Liverpool the following season.

Although he never played at the international level, Gould managed Wales for four years in the late 1990s. His son, Jonathan Gould, was a youth team goalkeeper with Rovers and after a spell with Clevedon Town he went on to play for West Bromwich Albion and Celtic, among others, as well being capped twice by Scotland.

Playing career[]

Bobby began his career playing as a forward for his home town club, Coventry City, turning pro with them in 1963 and remaining there for just under four years. He scored 40 times in 82 league appearances for the Sky Blues, attracting the interest of Arsenal, who paid £90,000 to take him to Highbury in February 1968.

The highlight of his two-and-a-half years with The Gunners was probably his equalising goal in the 1969 League Cup final, sending the game into an ultimately unsuccessful extra time period, but in spite of this he found himself increasingly on the margins of the club during the 1969–70 season. He moved to Wolverhampton Wanderers for a fee of £55,000 in June 1970, having made 65 league appearances for Arsenal and scoring 16 times and went on to score 18 in 40 league games for Wolves.

Just over a year later he moved to West Bromwich Albion for a fee of £66,666, making 52 league appearances and scoring 18 goals, before being sold to Bristol City in December 1972. After eleven months at Ashton Gate he moved on to West Ham United and from there back to Wolves in December 1975. He joined Rovers as a player-coach in 1977, and took up the same role with Hereford United for the 1978–79 season.

He played 35 times in the league, scoring 15 goals for Bristol City, before scoring 15 in 51 for West Ham, 13 in 34 during his second spell with Wolves, 12 in 36 for Rovers and 13 in 45 for Hereford. His final career totals were 440 league games played, 160 goals scored.

Career stats[]

N.B. Only Bristol Rovers league appearances are listed here. (Source: Pirates in Profile)

Season Club League
Apps Goals
1977–78 Bristol Rovers 32 10
1978–79 Bristol Rovers 4 2

Managerial career[]

After working as a player-coach at Rovers and Hereford United, Gould finally hung up his boots in 1979 to take up a position as assistant manager of Chelsea under 1966 World Cup hero Geoff Hurst. Gould got his first taste of management when Hurst was fired in 1981, leaving Bobby in charge for the final two games of the 1980–81 season. He was appointed to the position of Bristol Rovers manager in October 1981, but left in 1983 to take charge of the first club he played for, Coventry City. He returned to Rovers in May 1985 for a two-year stint.


Bobby Gould (right) oversees Alan Ball signing for Rovers in 1983

His biggest success came after leaving Rovers for the second time, in 1987. Despite not enjoying stellar success in his second spell with the Pirates he was taken on by First Division side Wimbledon, who he guided to FA Cup victory at Wembley in his first season with them. The Dons beat West Bromwich Albion comfortably in the third round, running out 4–1 victors, before seeing off Mansfield Town, Newcastle United, Watford and Luton Town on their way to the final. They were huge underdogs when they faced Liverpool in the final, but a single goal from Laurie Sanchez late in the first half was enough to cause the upset.

After two more years with Wimbledon, Gould handed in his resignation. He eventually found work as assistant manager to Don Howe at Queens Park Rangers in December 1990, and two months later he was offered the top job at West Brom. The Baggies were already at the foot of Division Two when he took over and he was unable to save them from relegation to the third tier at the end of the 1990–91 season. After failing to bounce straight back up the following season Bobby left for a second spell in charge of Coventry City, this time competing in the newly-formed Premier League. Despite finishing in a respectable 15th in the inaugural Premier League season, Bobby resigned from his post in December 1993.

M channon

Gould (right) with Rovers former England international Mick Channon

After an 18-month break from football management he was appointed manager of the Welsh national team in June 1995, where his four-year tenure was marked by a number of controversies. He failed to qualify for either the 1996 European championships in England or the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, and had a difficult relationship with some players, not least Nathan Blake who refused to play for Wales under Gould after claiming that Gould had made a racist remark to him in training.

Following his departure from the Wales Job in 1999 he spent another year away before being appointed Cardiff City manager in August 2000, but after just two months he moved into a General Manager's role and handed the day-to-day running of the team over to Alan Cork. His final Football League management job was another brief one, taking over as Cheltenham Town boss in February 2003 but resigning nine months later after suffering relegation to Division Three and being the target of a fans' protest to have him sacked.

He had a spell coaching at Peterborough United during the 2004–05 season, but left after a falling out with owner Barry Fry. His final spell as a football manager came in April 2009 when he was given the task of managing Conference side Weymouth for their final five games of the 2008–09 campaign, but as with several of the other teams he managed he was unable to save them from relegation and he left the club that summer.

Managerial stats[]

Last updated 12 October 2011 (sources Soccerbase, Bristol Rovers Football Club: The Definitive History 1883-2003,

Team Nation From To Record
G W D L Win %
Chelsea Eng England 24 April 1981 3 May 1981 2 0 0 2 0.00
Bristol Rovers Eng England 22 October 1981 1 May 1983 91 40 17 34 43.96
Coventry City Eng England 31 May 1983 28 December 1984 69 20 17 32 28.99
Bristol Rovers Eng England 16 May 1985 1 July 1987 105 31 25 49 29.52
Wimbledon Eng England 26 June 1987 18 June 1990 142 57 43 42 40.14
West Bromwich Albion Eng England 25 February 1991 5 May 1992 66 22 23 21 33.33
Coventry City Eng England 24 June 1992 23 October 1993 59 18 19 22 30.51
Wales Wal Wales 17 August 1995 6 June 1999 24 7 4 13 29.17
Cardiff City Wal Wales 8 August 2000 16 October 2000 11 3 6 2 27.27
Cheltenham Town Eng England 22 January 2003 6 November 2003 39 10 14 15 25.64
Weymouth Eng England 12 April 2009 27 April 2009 5 0 1 4 0.00
Total: 613 208 169 236 33.93

Record at Rovers[]

Season Comp Pld W D L F A GD[1] Pts[1] Pos[1][2] Round reached[3]
1981–82 Division Three 35 14 11 15 43 49 -6 53
FA Cup 1 0 0 1 1 2 First round
League Cup ? ? ? ? ? ? Second round
Gloucestershire Cup 1 1 0 0 ? ? Winners
1982–83 Division Three 46 22 9 15 84 58 +26 75 7th
FA Cup 3 1 1 1 3 3 Second round
League Cup 4 2 1 1 7 5 Second round
Gloucestershire Cup 1 1 0 0 ? ? Winners
1985–86 Division Three 46 14 12 20 51 75 -24 54 16th
FA Cup 4 3 0 1 8 7 Fourth round
League Cup 4 2 1 1 6 7 Second round
Associate Members Cup 2 1 0 1 2 3 Group stage
Gloucestershire Cup 1 0 0 1 ? ? Runners-up
1986–87 Division Three 46 13 12 21 49 75 -26 51 19th
FA Cup 2 0 1 1 0 2 First round
League Cup 2 0 0 2 1 6 First round
Associate Members Cup 2 0 1 1 1 4 Group stage
Total League 173 63 44 71 227 257 -30 233
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 League games only
  2. Finishing position for completed seasons only
  3. Cup competitions only