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Everton Past Player Profile
RICHARD GOUGH
Defender

 FACTS
Born Stockholm (Sweden), 5 April 1962
Height 6' - 0" (183 cm)
Joined Everton from Nottingham Forest* in May1999 (Free)
Signed by Walter Smith
Debut v Manchester United (h), 8 August 1999
Left Everton to coach San Jose Clash in May 2001
Finalé v Bradford City (h), 28 April 2001
Nicknames The Old Man of Hoy
Honours 61 caps for Scotland; 18 Scottish Championships; 3 Scottish Cup wins; 6 Scottish League Cup wins.
 PREVIOUS CAREER
 Seasons  Club  Apps  Gls

1980-1986 Dundee United 165 23
1986-1987 Tottenham Hotspur 30 -
1987-1996 Glasgow Rangers 294 + 27 25 + 3
1996-1997 Kansas City Wizz (USA) 17 + 2 0 + 0
1997-1998 Glasgow Rangers 24 ?
1998-1999 San Jose Clash (USA) 19 2
1999-1999 Nottingham Forest (on Loan) 7 0

* Contract Currently held by the Major League Soccer / San Jose Clash

 STRENGTHS  WEAKNESSES
  • Vast Experience
  • Keeps himself in excellent shape
  • At 37, he must be slowing up...
  • ... and injuries are finally taking their toll
 BIOSKETCH
 
The rewards may have soared out of sight, but little else has changed in the day-today existence of Richard Gough.  The former Scotland defender still pulls on a blue jersey with pride and a fierce sense of commitment, even if it is for Everton rather than Rangers these days, and still puts his head in where it hurts.

One of most popular and best-loved players in Scottish history, he earned 61 caps for Scotland, including World Cup campaigns in 1986 and 1990 and the European Championships of 1992, scoring six goals.  Captain of Glasgow Rangers from 1990 to 1996, he has been a player in 18 Scottish Championship teams, including nine consecutive Scottish Premier Division champions, three Scottish Cup wins and six League Cup wins, many of them under Walter Smith.

Gough was the only Rangers player to win a medal in each of those record nine successive Championships.  The distinction marks him out as unique, but he was that sort of leader.  An accomplished player, he was an excellent timer of a tackle.  He also had a fine touch, which made him a careful distributor of the ball once possession was won, and he was commanding in the air.

But it was his calm authority under pressure, a refusal to panic, that transmitted confidence to those around him that made him not only Rangers’ most successful captain but also one of the greatest.  Everyone respected Gough, an articulate man who understood the fans’ passion and conducted himself with great dignity.

Richard made his professional debut with Dundee United at age 18 in 1980, and scored eight goals while leading Dundee United to their first Premier Division championship in 1983.  He moved to Tottenham Hotspur for two years, but went back to Scotland in 1988, joining Rangers.  Named Scottish Footballer of Year in 1989, after leading Rangers to their first championship in 11 years, he has played more than 525 Scottish League games.

The latest illustration of his unquestionable footballing prowess came on his competitive debut for Everton against Manchester United when he proved yet again that he is a cut above the rest in more ways than one.  At an age when most players are drawing their pension, he stepped out alongside fellow 37-year-old Dave Watson and subdued the menace of Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke with a masterly display that belied his veteran status.  It was accomplished at a price, needless to say, as he was left hobbling with a dead leg and wincing from the pain of a head wound.

The player known as Captain Blood during his reign as a fearless defensive protector for Rangers spilled yet more of it in the cause of trying to keep his goal intact.  It needed three stitches – modest by his standards – to patch him up as treble-winning Manchester United's feared strike partnership met their match in the shape of Everton's inspirational old-timer.

Gough, who admitted to being astonished by the financial package on offer when he signed a one-year contract at Goodison, shrugged aside the discomfort of the first-aid brigade's latest handiwork and smiled:

'It's nothing worth worrying about.  I can cope with a smack in the face, or at least I should be able to after the number I have had.  This one was just run-of-the-mill for me. I feel fine and hope to keep my place at Aston Villa on Wednesday.'

Even though familiar with Gough's catalogue of injuries from a battle-scarred career with Rangers, they were surprised at the way he rolled back the years and bounced back from yet another blow on the head against the Treble-winners.  Gough himself remained unmoved and put it down to a fitness regime that has been paramount to his daily routine since he started out with Dundee United nearly 20 years ago.

'That is the key to it,' he said. 'I have always maintained a high level of fitness and that is why I am still able to handle the demands of playing in the Premiership.  People have always commented on my fitness, and it's something I pride myself on.

'It's not just a matter of working hard on the training pitch, either.  It's also about your lifestyle and making sure you eat the right food.  'I'm reaping the rewards now and enjoying every minute of it – even when I'm on the floor waiting to be carted off for more stitches.  I wouldn't swap it for anything, and, whether this proves to be my last season at this level or not, I'm determined to make the most of it.'

Richard Gough shelved plans to retire in order to renew a 20-year association with Walter Smith.  The former Scottish international was due to take up a job offer with America's Major League Soccer on 1 June 1999 after finishing a short-term contract with Nottingham Forest.  The veteran defender, who moved to the City Ground in March 1999 from San Jose Clash, had a great season with Kansas City Wizards in 1997, leading them to 1st place in the MLS Western Conference, strengthening their leaky defence and inspiring a winning record of 16 matches in 20.

"The plan was that I was going to retire and take a job with the American Federation, but Nottingham Forest offered me a contract and there was interest from West Ham and another Premiership club," said ex-Glasgow Rangers star Gough, who won 61 caps for his country.

"I phoned Walter Smith for a bit of advice on where I should go and it was then he asked if I would be interested in joining Everton.  I have kept in touch with him during his first season at the club and he is a man who I have tremendous respect for.  He is an honest man.

"He has known me as a boy and as a man and we have been very successful together.  I remember arriving at Dundee United as a 17-year-old and playing alongside Walter Smith for the reserves!   Then of course there was the success at Rangers.  Everton are lucky to have him."

Gough dismissed doubts about his ability to cope with the demands of the Premiership and pointed to fellow 37-year-old Dave Watson, who has also been handed a new one-year deal.

"I was a bit worried coming back to the Premiership from America," he said.  "But I have been pleased with my form and the interest I have received has been good for my ego.  "I have no worries about my fitness and I am really looking forward to the season starting now.

"Dave Watson's career has been similar to mine and from what I have been told he has been one of the players of the season for Everton.  I know I would have regretted not taking this opportunity.  Everton is a traditional club in my eyes with a great, passionate support. I think it will be a great place to play football.

"I think back through the years at the Scottish players like Andy Gray and Graeme Sharp and even Alex Scott and they have all done well.  I'm not one for the future.  I know that. But I think I can do a job."

And 'do a job' is exactly what Richard Gough did in his first season with Everton.  At 37 – going on 100 – his fitness and stamina have been a revelation to younger wastrels who enjoy a drink, a smoke, and another burger.  And his ability on the field has been vital in Everton's sometimes shaky defence.  All this was rewarded in March 2000 by Everton's beguiling offer of a further two years at the top, when Goughy accepted a generous extension to his contract.  

But an injury sustained at Leicester City in April 2000 put paid to the rest of the season for Goughy, who returned to his family in California for some rest and recuperation prior to the start of pre-season training in July 2000.  On his return, he was rewarded with the team captaincy for the new season.

But the injury woes for Gough were merely just beginning.  In the third match of the 2000-01 season, against Derby, he limped off with suspected knee ligament damage, and with him went Everton's bright start to the season: without him, they struggled to win matches and lost shape and confidence at the back.  

He returned fitfully in February and March, but it was clear he really was never going to get back to his fine form of last season.  After Everton had finally secured Premiership safety for another season, he decided to return to California and take up his player/coach position with the San Jose Clash.

  
 EVERTON CAREER STATISTICS
Season Squad
Number
League
Apps(sub)
League
Goals
Cup
Apps(sub)
Cup
Goals
TOTAL
Apps(sub)
TOTAL
Goals
1999-2k 4 29 (0) 1 3 (0) 0 32 (0) 1
2000-01 4 9 (0) 0 0 (1) 0 9 (1) 0

Totals: 38 (0) 1 3 (1) 0 41 (1) 1

  

 

Visit PhysioRoom.com for more injury information


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