What does Steve Bould do at Arsenal under Emery?
With Arsenal going through a summer of upheaval, both with backroom and playing staff, there is a prominent figure that remains. Steve Bould. Is it weird that he’s still here?
I think it’s fair to ask the question. Why Steve Bould? Ivan Gazidis has moved a significant portion of Wenger’s backroom staff on in an attempt to give the club a fresh structure and aesthetic. Colin Lewin (Head of Medical), Neil Banfield (First Team Coach), Jens Lehmann (Assistant Coach), Gerry Peyton (Goalkeeping Expert), and many more names went the same way as Arsène Wenger at the end of last season. Steve Bould was appointed in 2012 as a replacement for the much-loved Pat Rice as Assistant Head Coach, and many people thought that he would be one of the characters to follow Wenger out the door. For some reason, this was not the case and Bould was to be kept on in Emery’s new-look Arsenal. Interesting.
Bould’s introduction to the team in 2012 certainly inspired a buzz around the club, with many thinking that he was the man to sort out our terribly shaky defending during that time. We saw some improvement, with the partnership of Mertesacker and Koscielny, though I think this was more about the players’ individual skillsets and how they complemented one another. Otherwise, there has been little-to-no improvements made to our defence. This could be down to recruitment, but the coaching cannot be ignored. It’s been obvious that for years, there have been positional and tactical issues at the back, that cannot simply be put down to player misjudgement.
There were of course rumours floating around the fanbase, suggesting that Wenger restricted Bould’s influence and coaching style so that he would remain the omnipotent dictator of the club. Personally, I think that it was all a load of waffle, either way, it doesn’t show Bould in the best of lights. Either he didn’t have the stones to tell Arsène that he knew what he was doing and that he was the man to improve the defence, or, he was given the all clear to handle the defensive coaching and he wasn’t capable. He may have other merits that aren’t so clear to us fans, however, he was sold to us as the defensively minded tactician to counter-balance Wenger’s artistic attack.
It’s also strange that Bould has continued to be a prominent figure within the coaching staff, after Emery brought with him Juan Carlos Carcedo, his right-hand man, to also act as the Assistant Head Coach. Bould must feel a bit brushed aside like the third wheel on a couple’s retreat. We all saw Emery and Carcedo discussing game plans against Chelsea, with Bould sat watching on. We also saw Carcedo approach Torreira at the end of the game, clearly displeased with what he had seen during the build-up to Chelsea’s winning goal. Not that this is totally relevant, but it does show a difference in technique from the two coaches. I’ve never seen Bould approach a player in such a way, and it suggests that Carcedo might be more attuned to the intricacies of the defensive game.
I do not wish to point the finger at the man and say that he should be axed, because I don’t know the ins-and-outs of the coaching structure at the club. He might have some huge relevance to the performance of the team, or, for example, he could be part of the club’s attempt of a smooth transition away from the Wenger Era. It seems a bit strange to me all the same. With so much changing around the club, Steve Bould still stands. It could just be me, but it’s weird, right?