Steve Bould sacked
After 30 + years of service as both a player and coach Steve Bould has been sacked from Arsenal.
The former centre half was the head coach of the under-23 side after spending time as the assistant manager to both Unai Emery and Arsene Wenger.
During his time as a player he won the first division twice and the Premier League title, two FA Cups, League Cup and European Cup Winner’s Cup.
Moving on from playing, Bould became the coach of the under-18s squad where he won the title twice and an FA Youth Cup.
He then spent time with Arsene Wenger, taking over from Pat Rice where he earned 3 further FA Cup medals with the Frenchman.
After Unai Emery took over, eventually he was replaced by Freddie Ljungberg, who was the then coach of the under-23s which Bould took charge of.
With Arsenal’s reliance on many outstanding young players such as Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka, the under-23s have struggled.
They only just survived relegation from the Premier League 2, thanks to a last minute equaliser from Kido Taylor-Hart against West Ham United on the final day. Ultimately, this lead to the decision by the club to move on from Bould.
— Arsenal Academy (@ArsenalAcademy) May 7, 2021
Context of coaching the youth side
It is accepted that the results from the under-23s squad were not to the standard that the club were clearly hoping for.
However, it is worth mentioning the difficulties faced by a coach of a continually changing and pillaged group.
The primary objective of the youth sides is not to achieve results in the youth league.
The main aim of the program is to develop young players to a standard where they can impact the first team. Players such as Saka, Smith-Rowe, Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson, Alex Iwobi, Hector Bellerin etc have all come through and earned minutes for the senior side.
The first 5 on the list theoretically could still be playing for the under-23s. Nketiah and Nelson have both featured in the second half of the season due to a lack of opportunities in the first team.
Furthermore, some of the best talent is sent out on loan to gain experience outside of the club.
Jordi Osei-Tutu, Zech Medley, Joseph Olowu, Daniel Ballard, Harry Clarke, Mark McGuinness, Ben Sheaf, James Olayinka, Matt Smith and Tyreece John-Jules all left the club on loan with many rated very highly.
Ballard is already a full Northern Ireland international having earned 5 caps. McGuinness is on the edges of the Republic of Ireland team having played with the under 21s at his highest point so far. Matt Smith has an FA Cup winners medal having been on the bench in the cup final in 2020 and performed well this season in his spells away.
This should highlight the difficulty of losing such quality and having to find consistency in results. However, all that being said, the club felt that it was the time to move on from Bould. After 30+ years, he has been a great servant on and off the field and that should be respected.
Social media can be a bad place to be. Recently the Premier League amongst other sports and individuals took part in a social media blackout in protest to the companies’ failure to address online abuse.
English football clubs will stage a three-day social media boycott next weekend as part of a protest against racism, various national governing bodies announced Saturday
For #AFPSports pic.twitter.com/lXmGtSvNDi
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) April 24, 2021
Despite the protest, there has been little change in the behaviour shown by some. This was evident in David Ornstein’s announcement of Steve Bould’s dismissal.
Some of the replies are not appropriate to be posted, but below are a selection of some supporters reacting to a servant of over 30+ years to the club who won a collective 13+ trophies as a player and coach:
— Veer (@VeerKantelia1) May 22, 2021
Thanks for the mediocrity, but it’s time to say goodbye ✌🏽
— Omzzinho (@YoungOmz2) May 22, 2021
Thank you. Finally maaan… get rid of these people demolishing the club….
— Parahat Akmuradov 💎 (@AkmuradovP) May 22, 2021
— Renato (@rehnato) May 22, 2021
Yeah that man is mediocre. Bye
— Saugat Acharya 🇳🇵 (@TheStangun) May 23, 2021
Stealing a living for years…it’s about time
— Joseph (@JoeSimm88389869) May 22, 2021
Awful coach. Glad he’s been booted 😷
— TP Pillay (@TP_Pillay) May 22, 2021
Thankfully, there were also a good selection of respectful messages to Bould, whilst appreciating that this was probably the right time to move.
Never nice to see a loyal servant of the club go – all the best in whatever the future holds!
— Scott Borg (@sm_borg) May 22, 2021
Steve will always be a legend but I feel that there could’ve been a better way to send him off after 30 years of service. What happened to the classy Arsenal I once knew? What happened to the Arsenal I grew up watching? How they’ve treated staff have been shocking.
— The Brixton Gooner (@khalid4qn) May 22, 2021
My club actually being ruthless! He’s a legend but as evidence with the U-23s this season he’s out of his depth. Wish him nothing but the best!
— Jaderz (@FloridaGooner12) May 22, 2021
Sorry to see you go mr bould you have been a good servant to the club always tried your best am sure, but thats football you get the results or you dont and we are now needing to update our coaching ideas at youth level anyway so this is a progressive step in the right direction
— Mathew (@Mathew32913010) May 23, 2021
Hopefully one day social media abuse can come to an end but it appears that may be some way off.