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July 2021

I believe in Steve.

By Colario.


I wrote a comment in the blog ‘The Anti-Wengerians have not gone away, they are just hiding.’,  defending Arsene and his attitude to defence.  This was in response to the claim made by a caller to Talk Sport and supported by the two presenters that the difference between our home defence against Dortmund and our away defence against Dortmund was down to Steve Bould being allowed to coach the defence for the away game.

Later I read my comment and thought it possible someone might think I was anti Steve Bould.  I am not.  To prove it I have written this appreciation of his contribution to Arsenal.

Steve Bould. An appreciation.

Steve was brought to Arsenal  by George Graham in 1988. and became a member of what was to be  George’s famous ‘back four  defence’ which consisted of a right and left back and two centre backs Steve and Tony Adams. As we know at Arsenal anything can happen so here. with four making five for into the ‘back four’ came a fifth member. Martin Keown. . Tony as we all know was ‘home grown’ and quickly became the ‘Sung hero of Highbury.

Steve like Tony made his presence felt on the field and went about his task quietly and professionally   and gave his all to the defence of Arsenal. In a sense he is doing now what he did then and that his work in the shadow of his leader.  Unlike a former American President he never said ‘Read my lips’. What he did say by the way he played was ‘None shall pass’ and none did.

Before Arsene arrived our last championship success was in 1991. George Graham’s two championships were remarkable for two completely different reasons. The closeness of the first and for being way ahead of the also runs in the second. The year of ‘You can keep your two points……’ Which made the point loud and clear ‘We don’t need two points to make our point.’ We are the Champions!

The ‘invincibles’ have come and they have put into shadow that amazing championship win of 1991 in which we only lost one game. Our defence let in a grand total of just 18 goals. Steve played in all 38 games.

Arsene arrived to be faced with a failing Arsenal. The defence leaked and the attack had peaked.  We now know what we didn’t know then. Arsene changed everything and I mean everything. Out went the alcohol and seemingly much to Lee Dixon’s chagrin out went the chocolate bars. In came  ‘professionalism’ a professionalism like amateur England had never known before.

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One result of these changes was that it extended the playing days of the now famous ‘Arsenal back four’.  Even now we still have idiots (who by their own account know all there is to know) telling us that it was George Graham’s defence that won Arsene’s first double. Well yes they were in GG’s back four but it was Arsene by the changes he made. who made it possible for them to win their third Division 1 title.

Steve’s playing days over. Steve turned his life to coaching and joined many Arsenal greats both past and present, both sung and unsung and became part of the Arsenal back room staff.  ‘Steve Bould was in the Arsenal mould.

Until recently the face that we saw at Arsenal’s side at matches was that of Pat Rice. I heard Pat say in an interview, “I was sent to collect Arsene from Heathrow. In the car on the way back to Highbury he told me that he wanted me as his assistant manager.” Surely this appointment was a sign even to the most ignorant of Arsene critics that Arsene already knew what he was doing at Arsenal!

When you stop to think about it, that win at all costs regardless of principles, must have known about Arsene before he arrived at Arsenal and would have realised that Pat’s appointment was a sign of things to come.

Little was heard of  ‘Our Steve’ unless you had access to the ‘ins and outs’ of Arsenal. He remained as he did on the pitch quietly going about the tasks he was given. Never hitting the headlines never lipping his opinion in public just getting on with the task in hand. Now we see his face at Arsene’s side.

The Arsenal website tells us that he is the first team coach. That stands out with some significance because we are led to believe that Arsene does all the coaching!

I am outside the club so I don’t know the details but I know this. But it is clear that Arsene believes in Steve and so do I.


Earlier posts

22 comments to I believe in Steve.

  • nicky

    A good summary of what the No.2 at Arsenal is all about.
    Arsene has been lucky with both his choices.
    Mention of Martin Keown reminds me that sometimes our players leave, find the grass isn’t greener and return. Martin was one and now we have Matthieu Flamini.

  • finsbury

    As I understand since last season the first team coaching has been split into three:

    Bouldy at the back
    Neil Banfield in midfield
    The gaffer up top with the strikers.

    It is indeed just a little bit weird how the disingenuous ones try airbrush Banfield from the picture, from the club. From this world! Is this the kind of thing that happens when you declare yourself to be a “realist”? Like completely forgetting who played at the back in ’02-06, and who coached them?
    I dunno. I suppose it is one way of making oneself appear as an arse in public, if that is what is desired.

    Ever since Bouldy coached Wilshere’s youth team (did he coach Gibbs too?) he has been marked as a possible future Arsenal manager. It takes real effort to ignore why Bould has succeeded, that he has the full respect of everyone at the club when, some of his peers (not Keown) spend their time moaning in the TV studio.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Bould is a club legend, wenger even went as far as saying he could one day manage the club. As you say, he is a quiet man who gets on with it. We heard of bust ups between him and wenger, sources included the odious Stewart Robson, who knows, maybe there were creative differences, but whatever the truth or lack, they seem to work well now, and yes, we seem much stronger defensively despite the blip and the lucky shouldered goal yesterday. On the subject of coaches, worth also mentioning boro primorac, another quiet understated behind the scenes guy, wengers right hand man since Monaco, his eyes from sitting in the stands during games, and one who shares and develops the clubs playing philosophy. Primorac is a man who appears to exude integrity, he was a key witness against the goings on with tapie and Marseilles , maybe he and maybe his club could still pay the price for him helping unmask criminal activity that some at the highest levels of European football would have wanted brushed under the carpet.

  • kenneth Widmerpool

    Steve from our side of the media fence is a really likeable guy. It cant have been an easy task to take the place of Pat Rice.I personally was really glad when he stepped up, bringing with him all his defensive experience just look at how Per’s maturing…
    When Wenger was banned from those CL Steve gave a great after match spiel,hes also very cool on the touch line, often covering his mouth when he speaks to Arsene as if they just plotting between themselves.
    I also I recall that Tony Adams testimonial that Tony said that Steve didnt want to come off, he loved coming back and playing so much.To me hes as Mr.Arsenal as TA, and Im glad hes with us, and long may it be that way!

    Steve Bould, Steve Bould,
    Stevie, Stevie Bould!
    He’s got no hair,
    but we don’t care.
    Stevie, Stevie Bould!

  • Double canister

    well done, first post?

    You know, I’m not too sure the coaching is slit up into backs-mids-strikers sort of thing at Arsenal, thats too much like what other clubs do.
    Arsene does things differently.

    Bouldy is much more than a backs coach, and I mean that in a good and bad way.

    I was really impressed with Arsenal’s fitness in Dortmund, we out ran them in the last half half – and Dortmund are an exceptionally fit team. Boro does that side of things for the Arsenal.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Steve Bould IS in the Arsenal mould !
    Well done Colario , a nice write up of one who was,and is a loyal servant of the club .

  • ARSENAL 13

    Steve Bould is responsible for the defensive improvements…..well people take that idea and stuff it up your &^$%.

    A manager ,Mr Wenger ie, with 3 decades of experience thinks he can get away with shit defending and win titles. Now that is the stupidest thing to say, or even think.

    Mr Wenger and Bouldy (like Pat Rice before him) are of the firm belief that defense is not just about the backline. Entire team is responsible for shoddy defending. And I’ve also heard Mr Wenger say for our attacking flair to succeed we need to have a stable defense first.

    We were not as balanced between attack and defense earlier. Now we are. For that I dont just credit the coaching staff, but would like to praise the players as well. The difference between Arsenal of 2005-20011 and 2012 onwards is not just Steve Bould, but the personal…

  • ARSENAL 13

    Well, but I would be the first one to support STEVE BOULD for the managers post, when Mr Wenger retires ie….

  • colario

    Double canister
    Brickfields Gunners
    Thank you both your kind words.
    To answer your question Double canister. Err no. I wrote before I read the instructions for writing on Untold so didn’t realise I could use my internet name. I also caused a few probs for Tony. My only excuse is that I am a man and men don’t read instructions until it wont work. Only last week did I read the instructions I wrote ‘Football Ancient and Modern’ and ‘Strange very, strange.’

    Brickfields I enjoy your jokes and serious quotes. So I am hoping to read at least one here.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And so you shall. What’s good for the goose……

    The Migraine Cure
    A man goes to the doctor with a long history of migraine headaches. When the doctor does his history and physical, he discovers that his poor patient has had practically every therapy known to man for his migraines and STILL no improvement.

    “Listen,” says the Doc, “I have migraines, too and the advice I’m going to give you isn’t really anything I learned in medical school, but it’s advice that I’ve gotten from my own experience. When I have a migraine, I go home, get in a nice hot bathtub, and soak for a while. Then I have my wife sponge me off with the hottest water I can stand, especially around the forehead. This helps a little.

    Then I get out of the tub, take her into the bedroom, and even if my head is killing me, I force myself to have sex with her. Almost always, the headache is immediately gone. Now, give it a try, and come back and see me in six weeks.”

    Six weeks later, the patient returns with a big grin. “Doc! I took your advice and it works! It REALLY WORKS! I’ve had migraines for 17 years and this is the FIRST time anyone has ever helped me!”

    “Well,” says the physician, “I’m glad I could help.”

    “By the way, Doc,” the patient adds, “You have a REALLY nice house.”

  • AL

    Well said, Arsenal 13.

  • Armin

    I have to admit, since Bould is beside Wenger on bench, our defense has improved. But is it Bould influence or team just maturing and starting to play like team in all fazes of game, I have no clue.
    But there are things which really changed (some on good, some on not such good). Defensively we improved, we don’t hang anymore and eating nails in last minutes of game. We defend comfortably, without panic and without nervous looks at watch and ref. From the other side, few seasons ago, I didn’t mind if we get early goal. I knew we are “comeback kings” and no matter what happens we will score at least one more than opposition till end of game. Now I am getting a bit nervous if after 30 minutes we didn’t find net.

  • HenryB

    I am not quite sure what the furore about coaching/training is about.

    I am aware that there is some squabble about who does what between AW and Bouldy, but this seems to be about mischief making or semantics.

    Wenger is the football boss with a number of first class staff working under him, one of whom is Steve.

    Wenger cannot be expected to do everything under his remit, so for example he does not personally do the physiotherapy on the players himself, although the Physiotherapist is accountable to him.

    Likewise with Steve, it cannot be a surprise that as first team coach he oversees all aspects of the first team training, including the defensive responsibilities.

    It would be naïve to imagine that AW and Steve did not agree a regime of defense training between themselves which Steve would implement.

    Credit for the improvement in the defensive performance would therefore accrue to both of them and I cannot where the problem lies.

  • HenryB

    “I cannot ‘see’ where the problem lies”

  • AL

    Debating about who takes credit for solidity in this or that department makes me slightly uncomfortable. If we decide to give one person credit for improving the defence, then surely we should also blame that same individual when defensive errors start creeping in?

  • vacong

    I think is more to do with the team used to each other and defend better as communication is better!

  • AL

    That’s what I’d put it down to too. After all, its not just the defence that is performing well.

  • vacong, AL,

    Your comments remind me of beginning of last season when we were solid defensively. The Wenger haters quickly ascribe the credit to Bould. Then we started leaking goals, the Wenger haters told us it was because AW has, out of jealousy and spite, taken the defensive coaching duties off Bould. Then Kos and Per finally gelled as a defensive pair and booooom, the Wenger haters changed tune. It was because Wenger has finally seen the error of his ways and has finally given the defensive coaching mantle back to Bould. Basically it was a case of head; Bould wins, tails; Arsene loses.

    I think Colario need not have presented this article as he did, unless he intends to write one for every member of the coaching staff. Whatever Bould does, it has to be with AW’s authority as he is the boss. I am also certain that AW chose him as his assistant and he was not imposed on him.

    The key top our defensive solidity is the Kos-Per partnership and since AW bought both defenders, he takes the glory for their performances.

  • colario

    November 12, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    My sole reason for writing about Steve was because I think my comment pointing out Arsene’s contribution to our defense could be seen as a denial of the good work that Steve does for Arsenal. That was not my intention.

    I did write a comment in the article but it was long so I didn’t post it. I wrote what you see here.

    I agree with your last paragraph. I also agree with you that Arsene selects his staff.

    I knew about Arsene before he came to us. When his name was in the list of possibles I was very excited and at the same time in despair that he may not come.

    I knew the answer to the question ‘Arsene who?’ We speak as one. 🙂

  • Colario,

    Thanks for your response. Trust me, I know what you are doing in the article and it is a good thing. The problem is the Wenger haters who would misuse it to further their own agenda.

    No malice is intended on my part and I applaud you for seeing my comment in that spirit.

  • ARSENAL 13

    To add, about that ‘bust-up’….

    Now this shit-heads are talking about the two wise men, involved in a verbal spat or a full blown physical exchange. That too at the training ground, in-front of the players…….. And they want us to believe this.

    Lets for a second believe this actually happened. Then I wonder how Bouldy is still the assistant manager. A man who questioned the authority of his boss. OR it must have been a plot set by Mr Wenger and Bouldy, to let their players know how aggressive they are.

  • finsbury

    Double Canister @ November 12, 2013 at 1:55 am

    Hello DC 🙂
    I have no idea, and like you say and has also been written by others above, it’s hard to imagine that the coaches do not train or work together. They must. I heard an interview last season where they said that there was a vague split by the coaches for some stuff.
    Good point on Bould being a complete coach, the coltish Wilshere had great fun playing midfield for Bouldy.