Novelist John le Carre once compared writing a book to giving birth to a child and while there may not be many mothers who would identify with that description (particularly at the end of a long and painful labour), it probably strikes a chord with Bobby Gould, the former Wales football manager.
Having thrown himself with enormous enthusiasm over the last 10 months into writing the story of his life, the 64-year-old celebrated the first print run by making a 300-mile round trip so that he and wife Marge could be in the delivery room, so to speak, as the first copy came off the press.
Although published by the Shropshire-based Thomas Publications, Gould’s 272-page autobiography is being printed by T J International in Padstow, Cornwall. And even though Gould is based in Portishead, where his home overlooks the Severn Estuary, the journey to the fishing town made famous by Rick Stein still takes the best part of three hours each way.
Undaunted, Gould said: “My attitude is that I will only release one autobiography, so I want to make a proper job of it.”
Given that Gould, who played for eight League clubs and managed seven, has been one of the game’s more colourful characters, it is a wonder that 24 Carat Gould has been so long making it into print.
Indeed, the project came about only after publisher and ghostwriter David Instone interviewed Gould for his Wolves nostalgia website www.wolvesheroes.com. A popular player at Molineux, striker Gould scored 39 goals in 93 games in the old gold shirt during two spells in the 1970s.
|Proud moment: Bobby and wife Marge|
with the first copies
“When I asked him if he had considered doing his life story he told me he had tried once before but had not been able to find a publisher.
“I offered to do it if he were still keen and the project began there. It has been a pleasure working with him. He has been very diligent and caring about the book all the way along, paying attention to detail and pointing out where corrections needed to be made.”
24 Carat Gould, which the author describes as containing “plenty of laughs as well as some revelations”, is published next Thursday and Gould is embarking on an interesting round of engagements to mark its release.
“He is kicking off at Caludon Castle school in Coventry, which was his secondary school, and I believe he has invited a number of his boyhood mates to join him there,” Instone said. “Then there is a launch dinner in Coventry on Thursday evening.”
Well known now for his expert analysis for talkSPORT, Gould has further dates lined up in London and Bristol and will make a poignant return to AFC Wimbledon to celebrate his greatest achievement as a manager -- winning the FA Cup in 1988, when Lawrie Sanchez scored the goal that stunned Liverpool at Wembley.
Daringly, he is also going back to West Bromwich Albion, where he was never the most popular manager among Baggies fans, to meet some of his former detractors at a fans’ forum.
24 Carat Gould is a first autobiography for Thomas Publications, which was started some 15 years ago after Instone, a former Express and Star football writer, saw the potential in the nostalgia market and is now well established in the field.
Books with a Wolves connection have been the bedrock of their success but they have also published titles on West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa and an unauthorised biography of Matt le Tissier.
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