Wellington Phoenix goalkeeping coach Jonathan Gould has joined English Premier League club West Bromwich Albion as its head goalkeeping coach.
Gould flew to England after the Phoenix’ scoreless draw with Melbourne City on Saturday and will take up his new job immediately.
After a stellar playing career that included 157 games for Scottish glamour club Glasgow Celtic and two for Scotland, Gould came to New Zealand in 2005 to play at Hawke’s Bay United and joined the Wellington Phoenix as goalkeeping coach in 2009.
Gould said it was a wrench to leave the Phoenix but it was too good an opportunity to turn down.
“To be involved in the EPL is an awesome opportunity,” Gould said.
“In the early hours of Sunday morning I was watching West Brom play their FA Cup tie at the Hawthorns on television and thinking ‘am I really going back to that’.
“I have had an amazing 10 years in New Zealand and am grateful for the opportunities that New Zealand Football and the Phoenix gave me.
“Ricki Herbert gave me the chance to work with the Phoenix and I have to thank him for that.
“Then working with Ernie Merrick over the past 18 months has been fantastic.
“The hardest thing I have ever had to do was knock on Ernie’s door to tell him that I had the chance to go to West Brom.
“The way the football department is run is great and the spirit in the staff room is fantastic.
“I’ve watched the players feed off the belief Ernie has given them with the best example being Ben Sigmund.
“Ben was a rugged and courageous centre back who has become a centre back who can really play.
“From my perspective the way Mossy (Glen Moss), Lewis (Italiano) and Ollie (Sail) have worked has made my job easy.
“Potentially the Phoenix now have three top goalkeepers on the roster.”
In some ways joining West Brom will be like going home for Gould.
He played for manager Tony Pulis at Gillingham, while Pulis played for Gould’s father Bobby at Bristol Rovers.
Ernie Merrick said he was sorry to see Gould leave but could understand he wanted to coach in the EPL.
“The EPL is now the biggest league in the world and Gouldy will fit in because he is a terrific goalkeeping coach,” Merrick said.
“He has done an outstanding job with Glen Moss, Lewis Italiano and Oliver Sail.
“Gouldy is also a good person with a comical personality and it was great to listen to the stories of his playing career with several leading clubs.”