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Stephen Andrew Bould (born 16 November 1962) is an Englishmarker former football player and current coach, best known for his years at Arsenal, where he formed part of the famous "Back Four" during the George Graham era.


Playing career

Born in Stoke-on-Trentmarker, Bould signed for his hometown club Stoke City as a schoolboy in 1978, turning professional in November 1980. He made his debut at right back in a 3-2 defeat away to Middlesbrough in September 1981. However, he was unable to command a regular place in the team, and was loaned out to Torquay United in October 1982, playing nine league games for Bruce Rioch's side.

Bould slowly became a regular in the Stoke side, switching to centre half and staying loyal to them after their relegation from the First Division in 1985, although a major back injury in 1987 threatened his career, but after several operations he recovered. He moved to Arsenal for a fee of £390,000 on 13 June 1988, and became part of Arsenal's "famous four" defensive lineup, with Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn and his former Stoke team-mate Lee Dixon. Bould won the First Division title twice in 1988-89 and 1990-91; injury however ruled him out of the FA Cup and League Cup finals that Arsenal won in 1992-93, and his place in the team was taken by Andy Linighan who scored Arsenal's winning goal in the FA Cup final replay against Sheffield Wednesday. [147143]

After winning the Cup Winners' Cup final in 1993-94, success eluded Arsenal and Bould for several years, and the arrival of Frenchmarker manager Arsène Wenger in October 1996 led some to speculate the ageing Bould would leave the club (especially as he was now often second-choice behind Martin Keown); instead it spurred a brief revival, and Bould was a member of the squad that won the double in 1997-98 - Bould famously set up Tony Adams with a chipped throughball, for the final goal in Arsenal's 4-0 win over Everton, the match that won them the Premier League title. Two weeks later they won the FA Cup to complete the double.

By now age was not on Bould's side and after a final season at Highburymarker he moved to newly-promoted Sunderland in July 1999 for a fee of £500,000. His final season at Highbury was a disappointing one. Arsenal reached the FA Cup semi finals where they drew with Manchester United to force a replay, and the score was 1-1 in the final minute of the game when Arsenal were awarded a penalty. Peter Schmeichel saved the shot from Dennis Bergkamp which would surely have sent Arsenal through if he had scored, and a winner from Ryan Giggs in extra time ended Arsenal's defence of the trophy. A month later they were beaten to the Premier League by Manchester United, who also went on to win the FA Cup and European Cup.

Following the departure of skipper Kevin Ball in December 1999, manager Peter Reid made him club captain and he helped them finish seventh - just short of a UEFA Cup place. Bould stayed at the Stadium of Lightmarker until arthritis contributed to his retirement in September 2000 having played only 21 Premier League games for Sunderland.

Despite forming part of one of the most secure top-flight defences of the late 1980s and early-to-mid 1990s, Bould won only two caps for England, far fewer than fellow centre half Tony Adams, and didn't make his first full international appearance until the age of 31.

Coaching career

After retiring, he began working towards his UEFA coaching badges and in June 2001 moved back to Arsenal and became a coach for the youth teams. He is currently head coach of Arsenal's U18 Academy side, whom he led to the Premier Academy League and FA Youth Cup "double" in 2008-2009.

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