Steve Bould, Arsenal’s under-18 Academy coach, believes he has the ‘best job in the world’ passing on Arsene Wenger’s football philosophy to the next generation of Gunners and has intimated that a step up to coaching the first team is not on his agenda.
The former centre-back, who spent 11 years at Arsenal as part of the club’s legendary defence, has been tipped by former teammates (including Lee Dixon), fans and the media as a possible successor to Wenger when the Frenchman finally decides to step down. Nevertheless, while accepting his current state of mind could change, Bould made clear that the invasive nature of managing in the Premier League does not currently appeal.
“I think when I was asked back then [in the late nineties] I didn’t even contemplate going into coaching, so you never say never, but I feel management is not for me,” he told the official matchday programme ahead of last night’s win against Milan. “It’s just too intrusive on all aspects of your life.”
“I enjoy what I do. I get a massive satisfaction from seeing my players improve and make careers out of the game. The ultimate is seeing players we have worked for running out of the tunnel playing for our first team.
“I honestly feel I have the best job in the world. Doing what I love, with the facilities and footballing philosophy we have at this club, I have a fantastic job.”
While the top job may not necessarily be on Bould’s agenda, the fact that Pat Rice is due to retire this summer has given rise to the suggestion that he could still move into the Emirates dugout in a coaching capacity.
Many have suggested that as a dyed-in-the-wool defender Bould would be able to pass on some of the tactical intelligence learned on the job alongside the likes of David O’Leary, Tony Adams and Martin Keown.
Accepting that certain values remain the same, Bould made clear that the art of defending has changed so much since his retirement that the old days of stepping up as a unit and flagging for offside are long gone.
“You could not step up with your arm out and scream offside like we used to. That is not an area you can really coach any more. Also, you cannot get away with going to ground or any real aggressive tackling the way we used to nowadays.
“So, while there are some principles that persist, passing on what I used to do as a player has to be adapted.”
It should be an interesting summer at London Colney. Picking a successor to Rice could well be the biggest clue Arsene gives to his own future at the club and a much-anticipated insight into life after he leaves North London.