Major sponsor Arthur Laundy has backed the Bulldogs return of Phil GouldBRENT READ SENIOR SPORTS WRITER 6:05PM JULY 18, 2021
Canterbury major sponsor Arthur Laundy has lauded the signing of Phil Gould and revealed the role he and his son Stuart played in initial attempts to entice the rugby league guru back to the club he coached to a premiership more than 30 years ago.
Laundy has been an active figure in and around the Bulldogs since ploughing his own money into the club via Laundy Hotels, the pub empire he runs with sons Stuart and Craig. When necessary, he has been happy to wade in. Case in point – the club’s pursuit of Gould.
When the Bulldogs made embryonic approaches to Gould some months ago, Laundy and son Stuart tried to help broker an agreement to convince him to become their new head of football.
“Early in the piece – six or eight weeks ago – they couldn’t come to terms and my son Stuart through (Brad) Fittler asked if Gus (Gould) wouldn’t mind calling him,” Arthur Laundy said.
“Anyway, he called him and Gus, Stuart and I met at the North Sydney Hotel. We had a chat for about 40 minutes. Gus couldn’t stay long because he had to do a podcast or something. We had a chat and said we would support whatever we could do to get him there."
“He was very grateful for that. I said I would like to get the Canterbury club back on its feet again. He said he would think about it. Then it seemed to die a natural death."
Until last Friday, when the shock news emerged that Gould was returning to the Bulldogs to oversee their football operations.
“The deal was really put together by the chairman John Khoury,” Laundy said.
“He then called my sons Craig, Stuart and I to a four-way phone call on Friday afternoon to fill us in on the arrangement regarding Gus."
“I had texted Gus a couple of times. I didn’t know Gus well but I met him 40 years ago when he played for Canterbury – they used to all come up to my hotel for lunch and a couple of beers."
“We hadn’t seen each other in years. I hardly knew him really. I sent him a text yesterday just to congratulate him. He texted me back and said was looking forward to having a chat. I am confident that he will bring plenty to the table.”
Gould will take over a club that despite a disappointing season on the field, appear to making strides off it. They have made several key signings for next season, including Penrith half Matt Burton, Melbourne flyer Josh Addo-Carr, St George Illawarra fullback Matt Dufty and Panthers centre Brent Naden,
The club is also in talks with Dragons forward Paul Vaughan and Brisbane powerhouse Tevita Pangai Junior. Gould will give them even more clout in the player market, not to mention the corporate and political world.
On the latter front, Laundy has been helping the club explore the possibility of a Centre of Excellence. Gould has experience on that front.
“We are looking into a place now,” Laundy said.
“Having already done it as Gus has with Penrith, he would be an enormous asset to us. But I believe he will be an enormous asset to the club. The guy knows his football, he is a very well respected person in the rugby league world and I think our club could do within someone like that at the present time. I would like to think we are gaining ground. It has been bit tumultuous over there the last two years and I would like to think it will settle down.“