Leeds boss ready to write Prem chapter in family scrapbook
Published 23:00 06/08/10 By David Anderson
Among the most treasured possessions in the Grayson family home in north Yorshire is an old, bulging scrapbook.
It is jammed full of newspaper clippings and photos of brothers Simon and Paul.
There are entries chronicling Paul’s cricketing career, from his debut for Yorkshire and England, right up to his success as Essex head coach.
Simon’s footballing achievements have also been lovingly recorded by his mum and dad, and they have just updated it with his League One promotion success with Leeds. As stuffed full of yellowing articles and pictures as the scrapbook is, there is just about room for what would be Simon’s crowning achievement – leading his beloved Leeds back to the Premier League.
“My parents keep a scrapbook of our achievements and it’s quite full because Paul has had a successful time down at Essex as head coach,” he said.
“It’s nice to go home sometimes and see clippings of what they’ve kept, like any proud mum and dad would.
“I was at my mum and dad’s the other week and they got a team picture out from 1988 or ’87 and I was on the picture with Howard Wilkinson, the manager. We will be having our photoshoot at the weekend and I have to pinch myself to think I’m now the manager of this great club.
“It only seems like two minutes ago and yet so much has happened to this club over the last few years.
“I felt the club reached rock bottom when it was in League One and that someone was eventually going to be successful here. I was delighted to get them out
of League One and hopefully I will be the one who gets them into the Premier League.”
As a Leeds fan, player and now manager, Grayson, 40, knows what it means to the club’s supporters to get back to the big time.
For him, winning promotion is not just a matter of professional pride, it’s personal.
“I feel immense pride when I won promotion with the club last season and it was more sweet because this is the team I supported as a boy,” he said.
“There were grown men of 50 and 60 crying when we got promoted and that brought home to me how much it means to them.
“They have been through so much negativity over the last six years.
“In Norway the other week, we had 500 people watching us in a training session. We had Leeds fans who travelled from Poland to watch us play in Slovakia, which brings home to you that this is a big football club, not just in England, but in the world.
“I understand that. I’ve got that affinity with them and I’m determined to deliver what they want.”
After decades of being everyone else’s most-hated club, going back to the days of Don Revie, Grayson says he can detect a change in attitude towards Leeds.
He has been inundated with messages of congratulations since winning promotion and best wishes for the Championship campaign, which begins at home to Derby today.
“A lot of people are warming to us because they enjoy Leeds fans coming to their grounds because of the atmosphere they create,” he said.
“So many people have said they are glad we got promoted because the rivalry will be there.
“Hopefully we will be liked by a few more people.
“But ultimately, we’re not here to be liked – we’re here to win.”