Retracing Those Early Steps
Norwegian Trip Renews Some Old Friendships
Bobby Gould has made an emotional return visit to the Scandinavian outpost at which he launched his coaching career.
The former Wolves striker and his wife Marge were guests at a reunion attended by many members of the squad he found himself helping oversee for several months in the late 1970s.
The couple spent four nights in Alesund on Norway’s west coast, taking in a home league match against Odd and a host of fond reintroductions that left them with a new bank of happy memories.
“We needed a reminder of the players’ names in a lot of cases as a few decades had elapsed,” Gould said. “But a lot of those I had known were present and the time flew by. It was a lovely visit.
“I am grateful to the club for giving me the chance to coach there because it got me started in my post-playing career.
“We had some success together, which made it more memorable, and it’s good to see that they are in the top division over there now.”
Wolves visited the port town for a friendly in the close season of 1975, a few months before the well-travelled forward arrived in these parts from West Ham to launch his second spell at the club.
By coincidence, though, he played there with the Hammers in the same summer and recalled: “I think we won 5-1.”
Readers of his autobiography, 24 Carat Gould, may also remember that the Alesund players lined up on the quay-side to provide an emotional send-off to he and Marge 45 years or so ago with a spirited rendition of the local anthem, Alesund Super Club.
“We were first taken there by boat and away games were quite an experience,” he added. “I remember the wives and kids coming with us to a match at Molde – they were all at the back of the coach with pushchairs and we came to a big fjord in the days when there were a lot fewer bridges and tunnels.
“We had to wait for a ferry, so out came the fishing rods for a while before we continued the journey!”
The couple attended another reunion at Alesund in 2007 and have also played host at their home near Bristol to Rune Vagnes, one of Bobby’s charges four and a half decades ago and a man now well up in the Norwegian FA.