Football: Gould dons mantle of new Wales manager

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Bobby Gould, who steered Wimbledon to an inconceivable victory in the 1988 FA Cup final, last night accepted the task of trying to repeat his success with Wales, the Dons' international equivalent, when he signed a two-and-a-half-year contract as manager which will take him up to the 1998 World Cup finals in France.

The appointment by the Association of Wales brings to an end a seven-week search to find a successor to Mike Smith, who was sacked when the national team's hopes of qualifying for the finals of the European Championship in England next summer suffered an embarrassing, premature failure. Gould, 49, is their fourth manager in two years.

Like Smith, Gould is an Englishman, but he was quick to point out the success enjoyed by his compatriot, Jack Charlton, with the Republic of Ireland team. "If I can achieve what Jack has done with the Republic I am sure this nation will be going in the right direction."

Gould, who finished top of an impressive shortlist which included Howard Kendall and Mike Walker despite being out of the game since resigning from Coventry two years ago, added: "I had a dream and that was to become the manager of Wales. It has now been fulfilled."

Brian Fear, the president of the FAW, said: "Our aim is to reach the final stages of the 1998 World Cup. Bobby's aim is to get us there. We've been so close but we hope Bobby will lead us to that goal."

The Welsh international, Kit Symons, has rejoined his former Portsmouth manager, Alan Ball, in a pounds 1.8m deal which takes the central defender to Manchester City. Ball may also have solved his goalkeeping problem, signing the former German international, Eike Immel, from VfB Stuttgart for pounds 400,000.

The Association has confirmed that the dispute between Everton and Manchester United over the proposed transfer of Andrei Kanchelskis will go to arbitration. On Wednesday United abandoned the pounds 5m deal when they discovered that the Ukrainian's former club, Shakter Donetski, would not budge over a pounds 1.14m sell-on fee.

Bryan Robson, the Middlebsrough manager, has denied that he is set to move again for the player. "I think Manchester United and Everton will sort it out," he said.

Liverpool have put Paul Stewart's proposed loan to Sunderland with a view to a permanent transfer on hold. Roy Evans, the Liverpool manager, said: "Because of our injuries we can't afford to let him go up there yet."