Simon Grayson I had to keep pinching myself. Was I really Leeds United manager?
04 Jul 2019 10:24am, by YorkshireSquare
Leeds United are undergoing a rival at the moment lead by our enigmatic head coach, Marcelo Bielsa, a coach who set the Championship alight both on and off the pitch last season. It’s been a while since a coach excited the Leeds fans so much, we’ve had some real dross over the past few years; Neil Warnock, Dave Hockaday, Darko Milanic, Steve Evans and Paul Heckingbottom to name but a few.
The last time fans got genuinely excited about a coach and the football was under the reign of Simon Grayson. Under Grayson Leeds played exciting football winning promotion to the Championship and knocking Manchester United out of the FA Cup in the process. With his exciting, young team sold from around him Grayson was sacked by Ken bates, a chairman Grayson would later say “Didn’t have ambition to get Leeds Utd promoted”.
Grayson’s spoke to The Coaches' Voiceabout his coaching journey…
Managing Leeds was surreal. I’d supported them as a kid, made my debut for them but moved on after a handful of games. All those years later, I dropped down a division to manage them. There was no other club I’d have done that for. The whole time I was asking myself whether it was all really happening. Was I actually going to be the Leeds United manager?
Walking out to Marching on Together in my first game, following in the footsteps of some of the greatest managers in the history of British football and getting the ovation I did was incredible. Sitting in the dugout, I had to keep pinching myself. Was this actually happening? In my first season with Leeds we made the playoffs, next season we achieved the club’s best ever start.
The defining moment: Manchester United away in the FA Cup. There was genuine belief that we could beat league champions Manchester United. “If you can do something today, you’ll be remembered forever in Leeds United folklore” I told them. We got an early goal and then didn’t sit back. When the final whistle blew, Sir Alex Ferguson congratulated us. There was no greater compliment.
Read more about Simon Grayson’s coaching journey on The Coaches' Voice.