We continue our series of conversations with former Cherries players, this week catching up with a striker who had a short but successful stint with the club.
As a youngster, Paul Moulden’s feat of scoring 289 goals in 40 games earned him recognition in the Guinness Book of Records as the most prolific schoolboy in world football.
His exploits for Bolton Lads’ Club eventually saw him snapped up by Manchester City before he joined the Cherries in July 1989 after spending his formative years at Maine Road.
Although his stay was brief, Moulden’s departure after netting 13 goals in 32 league games coincided with a dramatic dip in results which eventually saw the Cherries relegated from the second tier in 1990.
Just before you moved to Dean Court, you scored twice in City’s 3-3 draw with the Cherries at Maine Road as Harry Redknapp’s team came from 3-0 down to draw 3-3. What are your memories of that game?
We were coasting and Bournemouth had hardly been in the game. This sounds a bit big-headed, but all of a sudden, Mel Machin decided to change the formation. He brought me off and put on David Oldfield. He had just signed for City and wasn’t having the best of times.
In the last six or seven minutes, City went to pot and I just remember Luther Blissett’s wonder penalty earning Bournemouth a draw.
How did your move to Bournemouth come about? It was widely reported that Ian Bishop was part of the deal?
People say that but he wasn’t. I was offered a contract at City and it was really poor. Compared with the homegrown kids, it was a good contract but I wasn’t looking at that. I was looking at the players that had come in and wanted a similar contract to theirs because I thought I had done well enough.
I got offered three different deals and rejected each one which meant I was free to speak to other clubs. I spoke to Mick Mills at Stoke City and Bournemouth and Portsmouth were also interested. I felt at home at Bournemouth and that was one of the reasons I signed.
I know people say it was a swap deal with Ian Bishop but it wasn’t and he had already signed for City. My situation at City seemed to go on for ages. As far as I was concerned, it wasn’t a swap deal. Ian had already gone to City and I was either going to Bournemouth, Stoke or Portsmouth.
What tipped the balance in Bournemouth’s favour?
Luther Blissett. Harry Redknapp was part of it but the chance to play with Luther was a dream come true because he was such a quality player.
What was it like to partner Luther Blissett in 89-90?
Awesome. As a kid growing up, I had watched him and John Barnes play for Watford. I had never worked or played with a world class player and he was superb.
Talk about your start… You scored six goals in your first five games, including a hat-trick against Hull City...
It could have been 26! We played Brighton on the first day of the season and hit the post five or six times. There were three inches between us battering Brighton and losing 2-1 and we lost 2-1. It was a crazy game and we had the riot act read to us.
You scored at home in a 1-0 win against Bradford in February 1990 which left the team 12th and 11 points clear of the relegation zone. You left a month later and the Cherries were subsequently relegated. What went wrong?
I thought we were better than the position we were in at the time of the Bradford win. We had some great wins and beat the likes of Newcastle and Blackburn at home. At Dean Court, I didn’t think anybody could touch us. If any team got a point or three, they had to be a good side. Our away form wasn’t the best for various reasons and to get relegated was an absolute shocker.
Why were you sold to Oldham in March 1990?
If you look back, the squad was really depleted. Harry was quite open about it and said he had to sell. It was between three of us and it would enable him to buy a couple of players. The first offer came in for me. Shaun Teale had just got injured and Harry needed to bolster the defence.
Do you have any regrets about your time at Bournemouth?
No. I was a northern lad who had moved down south and enjoyed every minute of it. All my pals were up north and although I didn’t think I missed them, deep down, I must have if that makes sense. Up here, there are a lot of clubs in a small area and a lot of banter flies around. Did I miss that? I don’t know but I had no regrets at Bournemouth.
You had four broken legs and were forced to retire at 28. If you had been playing today, with the medical side of the same so advanced, do you think it would have extended your career?
If I played today, I never would have got tackled. Tackles used to fly in when I played, but now, if you get nudged in the back, it’s a free-kick. At City, it was a common occurrence to have Mick McCarthy taking you and the ball as hard as he could. It must be a treat to play now. It’s a totally different game. My lads watch the videos and can’t believe some of the tackles.
Your son Louie played for City against the Cherries in the FA Youth Cup last season. Did you attend?
Yes, I came to watch. The ground has changed beyond recognition. It was great to go back and have a look.
What are you doing now?
I run a fish & chip shop in Bolton (Paul’s Chippy). I used to coach at City’s pre-academy and then my lads started playing.
Joe is in America, Ted has just had to retire at Bolton Wanders and Louie is at City. When Joe was seven or eight, I packed in the coaching and just concentrated on my lads and trying to help them achieve what they wanted to achieve whether that’s was in football or not. As it happens, they all went into football and it has been a pleasure working with them.