When Bobby Gould was asked what he had learned during his first match as Welsh manager, he thought a bit and then answered: "Our socks are too long." Given his attention to detail this week, no one was sure whether he was joking.
Gould has undertaken his new task with such gusto barely anything is left untouched. Going to bed at 12.30 yesterday morning after Wales had secured their first win in a year - a 1-0 European Championship success over Moldova - he was up again less than three hours later writing notes.
"The brain was working in overdrive," he said. "There's a list of things that have been noted, a few sheets of A4 of ideas and information from the players and staff. It's incredible how much has been accumulated in a week.''
At least Gould was spared contemplation in defeat, a fate suffered by the previous three incumbents of a job that has had the same good-luck charm as an albatross in recent times. His side had won, albeit against a team ranked 116th in the world, and were off the bottom of their qualifying group. "It's something that cannot be taken away from me," he said. "I've led Wales to a victory and that ranks up there with my FA Cup winner's medals as a player and a manager.''
Gould earned his success, if only for the intellectual courage to bring on David Phillips at half-time after dropping him. Once the Nottingham Forest player had been restored and the back three pushed forward, Moldova's midfield superiority was swept aside and Wales rightly deserved a success secured by Gary Speed's second international goal.
He likened the new set-up to a bottle of pop that had been shaken and exploded before being allowed to settle again. What he wants now is Matthew Le Tissier - and possibly Steve Stone and Andrew Impey - to cap the new brew.
"We've gone through the right channels, done everything properly," he said about Le Tissier. "We've spoken to Dave Merrington and Lawrie McMenemy at Southampton to tell them that we are interested in Matt playing for Wales. Now it's up to him. He's thinking things over and if he wants to meet me he can. It has to be his decision.''
"We've made a start," Gould added, "but there is still a lot to be done." How much will be bettered gauged next month against stronger opponents: Germany.Reuse content