Happy 44th Birthday to Leeds Legend Simon Grayson – by Rob Atkinson


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Simon Grayson – Leeds United legend

The happiest of happy birthdays today to Simon Grayson, the man who stands third in the ranks of all-time great United managers, surpassed only by longer-serving luminaries who brought the League Title itself to Elland Road.

Coming as he did to a once-great club at the very lowest ebb of its historical fortunes, Simon was the driving force behind the start of a Leeds revival that is still, slowly but surely, heading us back to the top-flight pastures we used to graze with such relish and assurance.  The fact that we’ve had those dark League One days will, when we are back, make success taste all the sweeter.  Simon Grayson is the figure in United’s history who will forever be remembered as kick-starting that process – and delivering us a rare and treasured win at the Theatre of Hollow Myths into the bargain.  To go to the home of the Champions as a third division side, to outplay them and out-fight them, to win by a goal that could so easily have stretched to a margin of three and to dismiss the Pride of Devon from the FA Cup – these are achievements that will write Grayson’s name indelibly into Leeds United folklore.

Click here:  Celebrating United’s promotion – BBC interview

It must be remembered also that Grayson achieved all of this against a background of almost a decade of decline, with a demoralised support and a chairman who could charitably be described as “less than supportive”.  In an entertaining forum the other night, Simon and some of his colleagues from his time at Elland Road – well, let’s say that they “lifted the lid” a little on his time as United manager, and on his relationship with the Chairman and various of Bates’ cronies and dressing-room spies.  The natural conclusion is that Grayson has finally received his financial entitlement from Leeds United and no longer feels confined by any “gagging order”.  I do hope that’s the case.  Simon was treated shabbily by the Bates-regime Leeds United, both in his tenure and in the manner of his departure.  His is a dismissal I can’t think of without regret – although it clearly has to be said that we have the right man for our times now.

Simon Grayson, 44 years old today and with a long managerial career still ahead of him, already has three League One promotions to his credit, and appears to be working on a fourth at Preston.  Leeds fans should wish him nothing but well, may success crown his efforts at Deepdale, the home of a fine old club and a great name in English football.  Should his path lead him back to the away dugout at Elland Road in the future, Simon Grayson should be assured of a warm welcome as befits a United legend.

Oh, and it’s Dennis Wise’s birthday too, 47 he is.  Yeah.  Happy birthday, Wisey.

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20 responses to “Happy 44th Birthday to Leeds Legend Simon Grayson – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Rubber Brick

    Excellent eloquent article once again Rob; Simon should always be remembered for the success he brought to LUFC. Then you have to spoil it all by mentioning Dennis! Bhaa.

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  2. sniffereshorts

    happy birthday Larry, having read previous articles …. and taking on board the moans and groans from Donny having the better off it… thought I would look on News Now Donny link…. where is their passion, where are their fan sites, where is anything …. about sums it up and just over 12k at home abysmal …. they must be ashamed a third of that game crowd was us !!!!!!!!!! ….. didn’t think Fergie got much of an ovation last night wonder why !!!!!!!! and where was Beckham he he

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  3. Like you say rob , grayson will , like beckford, will be remembered fondly for giving us some pride back with that win over the scum , grayson had his hands tied by materbates , if he hadn’t I believe we would be in the premiership now , happy birthday Simon

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  4. He is hardly a ledgend and did he not lose the dressing room possibly concerning the unsavoury business with Andy O Brian. It seemed to me that he had to go.Victor

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    • To be fair, I never said he was a “ledgend”. It was just a blog on the guy’s birthday to recognise what he did for Leeds United, namely promotion from our worst ever low and a famous victory over the scum. Obviously that won’t appeal to everybody, but those who object are welcome to lump it.

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  5. Brian Revis

    I agree with your sentiments with one exception. Simon should be 4th after Major Buckley. I realise that you would have to be 70+ to know that, you will just have to take my word for it.

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    • No, I did actually consider Buckley, but I still felt that Simon ranks higher. It’s all a matter of opinion of course, but my rationale was that Buckley achieved promotion from the second division in the fifties with the best player in the world, whereas SG got us out of League One and beat the Champions away as a third-tier team – and to clinch it, he’s a Leeds fanatic. Third for me.

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  6. Brian Revis

    Back again Rob. Buckley did not get United promoted. That was achieved by Raich Carter[Iwas at Boothferry Park that day]. Buckley’s big achievement was reaching the 6th rd of the FA cup and restoring pride in the club after being relegated from the 1st Division with a record low number of points

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    • Agh, you’re spot-on of course. I’m bang to rights on the “if you know yer history” front. So your guy is the monkey-gland man, right? Well, I shall stick to my guns as by your own admission his big claim to fame hangs on a cup achievement – and one, moreover, that doesn’t really stand up to Simon’s own Cup exploits as manager of United. So my top five (in descending order) would be: Revie; Wilko; Grayson; Carter; Buckley.

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  7. john palmer

    grayson’s teams played the most entertaing football for years inc. present team if he had ,had half the support warnock and mc dermott have had we would know be a good prem. team def. a legend

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  8. A really nice read, I always rated him highly and I was gutted when he got the sack. I’ve always supported him since he left, even at Huddersfield. Hope for his sake that Preston goes up this season.

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  9. What? What? Yes, Mad Larry did good for us until his last year (when he lost it while under some pressure) and deserves a place of honour. But your list of managers – what? What? 6th round of the FA Cup is good? Well how about semi-final, plus semi of Leauge Cup, plus European Cup final? I’ve always felt sorry for Jimmy Armfield. I actually, said, in his era, circa 1977, that if we didn’t sign 3-4 young international class players within a year we’d be relegated by the end of the 70s. Not doing so may not be his fault, but he had other faults. Even so, when you consider what was achieved each year he has to be at least as good as O’Leary. And IArmfield’s Leeds, when on song, were amazing to watch, and no soft touch when it came to the physical stuff. Then there’s O’Leary himself… some of us don’t like him, but doesn’t he deserve a place in the list?

    I’d say: Revie, Bill Lambton, Wilko, Armfield, O’Leary, Grayson. (I can’t count.)

    Bill Lambton – someone please correct me if I’m wrong had this bright idea about a youth policy and signed a few kids. I’m thinking of kids by the names of Bremner, Madeley, Reaney, Hunter, Sprake, Cooper… I’m sure Revie didn’t sign them. If it was Buckley or Taylor then I mean them to have his place in the list. Or was there an unsung scout at that time?

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  10. But look at the players he found! (If I’m right in thinking that was him.) I forgot Albert Johansen, by the way.

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  11. Indeed, but his job title was manager, and scounts don’t get to create youth systems. We’d have been broke at the time too. If he set up the system that brought those players through, in the short time he had, then he made a huge contribution to our club. As deserving as Grayson, I’d say.

    Of course I could still have got this wrong, but I think it was him rather than Jack Taylor.

    Of course lists like this are always crap, just like the ‘best 11’ ones are – both are limited by the ages of the participants. I have no more idea of what Major Buckley’s team was like than I have of what our all England half back line of the 20s was like.

    Can you do worse manager ever next time, please, and disqualify Wise from it? Everyone will say him because a/ he’s a cnut of the first order and b/ we were relegated under him. But it wasn’t his team and fitness levels were so low as to be unmeasurable. If ever a manager had no chance, it was him that year. Though he’s still a cnut – but ‘Biggest cnut to manage Leeds’ isn’t the same as ‘Worst Leeds manager.’ Go on. I want to rant about Peter Reid.

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  12. Good answer.

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