Goalkeeping coach Jonathan Gould came within touching distance of winning the Hyundai A-League title with Perth Glory, and now believes he can go that extra yard with the Wellington Phoenix next season.
Gould, who spent two seasons with the Wellington club before moving to Perth Glory for the campaign just finished, is returning to the Phoenix on a two-year contract and can’t wait to team up again with head coach Ricki Herbert.
The former Glasgow Celtic and Scotland keeper enjoyed his time in Wellington, but the off-field uncertainty surrounding the Phoenix at the end of the 2010-11 season saw him make the switch to Western Australia.
“It was a wrench to leave because I have such a good relationship with Ricki but it was a tough time,” Gould, a highly-rated coach, said.
“I have had a wonderful journey over the past nine or 10 months and it was great working with Ian Ferguson, but once there was stability at the Phoenix and Ricki asked me to return it was a no contest really.
“Ricki has believed in me and hopefully what I’ve done over the past few months will help him and the Phoenix go one better than the Glory and win the competition.”
Gould said it took the switch to Perth for him to realise just how highly rated Herbert and the Phoenix are in Australia.
“The credibility Ricki has across the Tasman among A-League teams and coaches is amazing,” Gould said.
“I don’t think Ricki and the team are appreciated as much in New Zealand, apart from the fans in Wellington, as they are in Australia.
“Considering the turmoil going into the season the Phoenix team performed amazingly well in getting to the playoffs for the third successive season.
“Now that the club is getting the off-field stuff right it is an opportunity for Ricki to take it further.”
Gould said being away from the Phoenix, but involved in the same competition, had given him the opportunity to look at the club from a different perspective.
“An opposition coach looking at the Phoenix sees three or four players who can create a real threat going forward, and most teams would look at having Dura and Siggy as a centre-back pairing,” he said.
“It is also a big plus that the experienced players in the squad have signed new contracts. For the Australian boys in particular the easy option would have been to head home to Australia on the back of the reputations they have established at the Phoenix.
“That they didn’t take that option is down to their regard for the way the head coach operates, along with the fantastic spirit in the dressing room.”