Thursday, March 3, 2011

3 March 1983 - Gould Puts His Money Where His Mouth Is

On 3 March 1983, Bristol Rovers manager Bobby Gould levied an unusual fine--against himself.

Gould was then in his second season in charge of Bristol Rovers, though he had played there for a season as part of a journeyman career that saw the striker suit up for a host of clubs including Coventry City (82 league appearances), Arsenal (65), West Brom (52), and West Ham (51). He retired from playing in 1979 and joined Chelsea that year as Geoff Hurst's assistant.

When the Blues sacked Hurst in April 1981, Gould filled in as caretaker, holding the reins for their last four matches, then took the full-time position at Rovers that October. When he arrived in Bristol, Rovers were launching their Division Three campaign having been relegated from Division Two the previous spring, and Gould led them to a 15th place finish.

In the 1982-83 season, Rovers rose as high as second in the table in the first half of the season before slipping down to sixth on New Year's Day. They were pushing up again, rising to third before losing at Bradford City in February. Gould strongly took issue with the referee's decision-making that day, engaging in what he later described as "mouthing off." But he proved that even the manager was to be held accountable and, on 3 March, fined himself £200 as a consequence.

Rovers finished in seventh position that season and Gould departed for Coventry City. He returned to Bristol Rovers in 1985, then moved to Wimbledon two years later when he won the 1988 FA Cup.

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