Never say never but Goffy’s gone
Auckland City FC’s pursuit of football’s ASB Premiership and OFC Champions League titles must be made without coach Paul Gothard, who is stepping down.
The 39-year-old former navy blues goalkeeper and assistant coach announced his unavailability for the next campaign to club officials last week.
‘‘It is not a decision I have taken lightly and it has been one of the hardest calls I have had to make in my football life,’’ Gothard says.
‘‘But after four seasons with the club I feel it is now time for me to spend more time with my family and concentrate on them and my job of selling houses.’’
Gothard joined Auckland City in 2009.
He played in the navy blues epic final match at the FIFA Club World Cup in the UAE as they swept to a fifth placed finish by defeating African club champions TP Mazembe.
He stepped into the goalkeeper coaching role the following season while also remaining part of the playing squad before accepting the assistant coach mantle after Aaron McFarland stood down to pursue his international coaching career.
Auckland City won the OFC Champions League for the third time in a row last season and qualified for the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco scheduled for later this year.
‘‘I will be watching the results keenly and hopefully one day I may be able to get involved again. Never say never,’’ Gothard says.
Chairman Ivan Vuksich says he is disappointed to hear of Gothard’s decision. ‘‘Goffy has been an integral part of the Auckland City set-up since he joined the club in 2009.
‘‘He is very well respected by the players along with everyone else involved at the club. We are naturally disappointed to lose someone of Paul’s calibre, however we respect his reasons for stepping down.’’
Gothard’s replacement will be named in due course and will join the team’s management staff which remains largely unchanged from last season.