Len Goulden

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Len Goulden
Len Goulden (1947).png
Goulden in a Chelsea team photo, November 1947
Personal information
Full name Leonard Arthur Goulden
Date of birth (1912-07-16)16 July 1912
Place of birth Hackney, England
Date of death 14 February 1995(1995-02-14) (aged 82)
Playing position Inside-left
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Chelmsford City
1931–1932 Leyton
1932–1940 West Ham United 242 (54)
1945–1950 Chelsea 99 (17)
National team
1937–1939 England 14 (4)
Teams managed
1952–1955 Watford
1965–1967 Banbury United
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Leonard Arthur Goulden (16 July 1912 – 14 February 1995) was an English footballer. His son Roy was also a footballer.

Playing career[edit]

Born in Hackney, London, Goulden began his career with Chelmsford City, before moving to Leyton and then West Ham United in 1933. He remained with the Hammers for six years, making over 250 appearances and scoring 55 goals from the inside-left position. He was an ever-present, along with Joe Cockroft, during the 1936–37 season.

Goulden also won 14 England caps during his time at Upton Park. During a match against Germany in 1938, he scored with a shot that reportedly ripped the net from the crossbar; he is then reported to have shouted, "Let 'em salute that one!" His West Ham career was interrupted when World War II started and he never played another competitive match for the club, though he did win the Football League War Cup with them in 1940.

Following the conflict, he signed with west Londoners Chelsea for £4,500 and linked up well with fellow new signings Tommy Lawton and Tommy Walker – the trio scored 47 goals between them in 1946–47 – though the side failed to make to challenge for honours, coming closest in the FA Cup, when they lost to Arsenal in the semi-finals, despite having led 2–0. Goulden retired as a player in 1950, having made 111 Chelsea appearances and scored 17 goals.

Coaching and management[edit]

He remained at Chelsea until 1952, before moving to Hertfordshire in November 1952 for a management opportunity at Watford. His first match in charge was a 1–1 draw at home to Coventry, and by the end of 1952–53 Goulden had guided his team to a top-10 finish in the Third Division South. That summer he signed Dave Bewley, Roy Brown and Maurice Cook, all of whom went on to play key roles during his reign. After guiding Watford to 4th and 7th in the next two campaigns, Goulden stepped down to become a coach midway through the 1955–56 season. However, his successor and former player Johnny Paton's spell yielded just 2 wins from 15 games, including defeat at the hands of non-league clubs Aldershot and Bedford Town. Goulden took over for the remainder of the season, but was only able to salvage a 21st-placed finish.[1]

After three years coaching overseas, Goulden returned to Watford in 1959, as part of new manager Ron Burgess's coaching staff. Burgess and Goulden's impact was immediate; Watford won promotion from the Fourth Division in 1960, and very nearly a second consecutive promotion in 1961.[2] Goulden departed the following season, again coaching overseas, before returning to management in England with Banbury United in 1965. Goulden, assisted by his former player Maurice Cook, helped Banbury reach the Southern League for the first time in their history.[3][4] After leaving in 1967, Goulden's final role in football came at Oxford United, where he managed the reserve team from 1969.[2]

Goulden died on 14 February 1995, in Plaistow, London.[2]


  1. ^ Jones, Trefor (1998). Watford Season by Season. Watford Football Club. pp. 114–121. ISBN 0-9527458-1-X.
  2. ^ a b c Jones, Trefor (1996). The Watford Football Club Illustrated Who's Who. pp. 271–272. ISBN 0-9527458-0-1.
  3. ^ "Banbury United FC: A brief history". Banbury United. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
  4. ^ "Maurice Cook". Neil Brown. Retrieved 13 July 2010.

External links[edit]