Football: Mystery as Gould quits

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BOBBY GOULD, Coventry City's manager until about 5pm yesterday, gave one of his shorter post-match press conferences after his side had been beaten 5-1 by Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road. The man who managed Wimbledon when they beat Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup Final announced: 'Gentlemen, this will be short and sweet. I have just informed the players and the chairman that I have resigned. A statement will be made on Monday and that is all I am going to say.'

Coventry-born Gould already has another appointment for Monday, to appear before the FA at Lancaster Gate on a misconduct charge, but it is unlikely that this meeting had any bearing on his decision to go.

Coventry started the season well - winning 3-0 at Highbury on the opening day - and until yesterday had lost only twice in 11 Premiership games. But they have taken only one point from their last five matches and have drawn half of their League games, which, as Gould noted when he appeared on BBC's Grandstand at lunchtime yesterday, represented a lot of dropped points. Perhaps his recent re-appearance for the Coventry reserves, a game in which he scored, has prompted thoughts of becoming a player-manager.

Gould's goalkeeper son Jonathan, who had just let in five, said: 'When my dad came into the dressing room and told us the news I was as surprised as anyone else. I had no idea that this was going to happen.'

As the Coventry players boarded the team bus for the journey home, fans chanted 'Sack the Board, Board out', which suggests that Gould's relationship with the penurious club's executives was not harmonious.

Gould, a doughty, physical centre-forward, played for 10 clubs, including Coventry, Arsenal, Wolves and West Ham, before building a reputation as a manager who could build winning sides with a less than generous budget. As well as Coventry and Wimbledon, he had charge of Bristol Rovers and West Bromwich. He moved to Highfield Road after Terry Butcher was sacked.

Gould's announcement took the shine off a Rangers win which featured England striker Les Ferdinand in sharp form. Ferdinand opened the scoring after 15 minutes, and two goals from Bradley Allen all but put Rangers out of reach by half-time. Their 5-1 win lifted them to fifth in the Premiership.

Football, page 5

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