Goalkeeping coach tells us about being back at The Hawthorns
JONATHAN Gould was appointed as Albion's new goalkeeping coach last week.
The 46-year-old, who spent several months at The Hawthorns in the early 90s, was on duty for Saturday's 0-0 draw at Sunderland.
wba.co.uk caught up with the latest addition to Tony Pulis' back room staff.
Q: Welcome back Jonathan...So tell us how this move arose?
A: Basically, my dad and I were sat watching Wimbledon play Liverpool in the FA Cup and it was mentioned Dean Kiely had left the club. I put a quick text into Tony (Pulis) and it took its natural course after that. I expressed an interest in the role and it went from there.
Q: How do you know Tony Pulis?
A: My first link with Tony was with Bristol Rovers. I was a young 16-year-old and he used to do a lot of the training for my father there. That was my first recollection of actually throwing up during a training session - he'd worked us that hard. He then took me on loan to Gillingham later in my career so I spent a month playing for him there. I know how meticulous he is in the preparation for games and how he organises teams. He spents a lot of time working with players and working through every scenario so that every time you go on the pitch each player knows what they are doing. When players go out to play they know exactly what they're recruited to do.
Q: You've been living in New Zealand?
A: I've been working in the (Australian) A-League for the last six years with the New Zealand franchise in Wellington - Wellington Phoenix - and then I had a year at Perth Glory too. I was working with the New Zealand national teams as goalkeeping coach for the U23s and U20s, so I've been heavily involved with the development of goalkeepers over there.
Q: So when did you return to England?
A: The day I joined West Brom. It was all very quick. On the Saturday we played against Melbourne City - the club owned by Man City - and drew 0-0, so it was good to end with a clean sheet. I then jumped on a plane and flew to London...
Q: Impressions of club - how different to when you were here as a player in 1992?
A: Huge change, beyond recognition. The thing that lived with me was the passion. I played for Celtic and witnessed passion, but I did here too. West Bromwich Albion fans have always had an expectation and rightly so. When you step out on the pitch that's what you look forward to. I didn't play any first team games when I was here - Stuart Naylor was No1, Mel Rees was No2 - but I appreciated the size of the club, even given where the club was at the time. As a club, some things haven't change. Mo was still the laundry lady back then...and then I walked in through the door last week and she was the first person I saw. But other things are very different. We used to change in the first team dressing room and walk across to the school, where we had two pitches. The conditions were absolutely dire at times. We now have a Dome on the side where we trained, which goes to show how much the place has changed. Back then we had one groundsman - Rob, who is still here - and an older guy called 'Popeye', who used to collect the balls for us. Sadly he passed away not longer after I left. They're my memories from the time I was here...oh, and, of course Bobby Taylor, who popped into the training ground last week. It was good to see him.
Q: Your dad didn't have the greatest of times here. Did he say anything to you before you took the job?
A: No...but I've been in football for 35-years in one form or another. I was brought up with football and I know how harsh it can be. The game never changes - styles of football change and we've seen an evolution of that, along the pace of the game. This is a massive club, they've been in the Premier League for five years or so. I want to be part of a group that maintains this status.
Q: Have you had much time to look at Ben, Boaz and Jack?
A: I know of Ben and Boaz from when they were coming through in the game towards the end of my career. As for Jack, I watched him play a solid game against Hednesford. I've looked at the young keepers already - some of the work they've done is fantastic. It's really important you get a succession of goalkeepers coming through the club. With the facilities we have there is no reason why we can't have a succession of goalkeepers here.
Q: A big lifestyle change too?
A: It is. I never got caught in traffic jams out there, for starters. And I used to spend my afternoons and evenings on the beach walking the dog. I had a small farm too, which kept me occupied. But the plan was to return. My son is on the books at Cheltenham and has been there this season. My wife and I had been looking to head back at some point. My daughter and wife will follow me in about six weeks.
Q: How was Saturday?
A: I couldn't wait for Sunderland. There was an adrenalin rush. My keepers at Wellington said I used to get 'stadium fever' and smash the balls at them far harder than I should. They were probably right.
Q: Finally, you have your first home game this weekend - what about your memories of playing at The Hawthorns?
A: <laughs> Probably not the best actually. I played against West Brom for Preston back in 2003 and I lasted 40 minutes. I got sent off because basically Lee Hughes dived over the top of me and the referee gave me a red card. It took me about four minutes to get off the pitch because I refused to go! And then it went from bad to worse because I broke my foot kicking the door on the way back to the dressing room - thankfully I noticed they've replaced that door now. The funny thing was that the review panel overturned the red card but the FA came back and said 'no, you're not overturning it'. So I'm hoping my next time at The Hawthorns will be less dramatic and definitely less painful...