A year of ups and downs for Simon Grayson TSS December 22, 2009 Leeds United 7 Comments Today marks the one year anniversary of Simon Grayson’s reign as Leeds United boss, and what a fantastic year it’s been. Time to take a look back at all those ‘ups and downs!’ UP – The revival Gary McAllister’s reign as Leeds United boss came to an end after five straight defeats, which included the embarrassing exit from the FA Cup away to lowly Histon. Simon Grayson quickly identified the flaws, strengthening the defence and inspiring a new confidence in Leeds United that led them on a remarkable run, ending the season just five points off the automatic spots in position for another dice roll in the play-offs. DOWN – More playoff heartache The reborn Leeds United appeared almost untouchable under Simon Grayson’s leadership, but our second attempt at escape from League One via the play-offs ended once more in heartache for the Whites. This time, we went out in the semi-finals to Millwall 2-1 on aggregate. Clearly, the only way to escape League One for Leeds United was automatic promotion and Grayson was under no illusions that that’s what we needed in 2009/10. DOWN – Villa make Fabulous signing After weeks of rumours, the inevitable sale of Fabian Delph was finally confirmed. Leeds United’s brightest prospect was to be sold to Aston Villa and with his exit, the Leeds fans feared we’d taken a step backwards and this showed a lack of ambition from the current board. The fans were spirits were temporarily lifted when Bates left us under the impression the money would be used to help repurchase Thorp Arch. Another ‘down’ in waiting as the board screwed us royally again, the funds vanished and the training complex’s deadline would pass without repurchase. UP – Fresh faces, fresh start, fresh approach With almost no money spent on the transfer market whatsoever, Leeds fans feared the worst as the new campaign got underway. The players Grayson had brought in for nothing however proved to be more than capable, especially Patrick Kisnorbo and Shane Higgs who strengthened the defence massively and led Leeds to the longest unbeaten run in the country. Whilst leading the team to the top of League One looking like we were in second gear for much of it, Grayson also smashed two of Don Revie’s records. The first would come early doors when Grayson’s team won their first eight consecutive games breaking a record that had stood since 1973. UP – Fortress Elland Road Another record breaker for Grayson as his side won fifteen consecutive matches at Elland Road. Impressive in it’s own right, but possibly surpassed by the current run of remaining unbeaten at home for almost a year (and counting). UP – Cup kings Early in the season Grayson’s team secured a showpiece Elland Road clash against the mighty Liverpool in the League Cup. Whilst none of us expected to win the game, the Whites came close and ran Liverpool ragged for 90 minutes. A simply brilliant display from the lads, who were unlucky to eventually lose 1-0. Meanwhile, in other competitions Leeds United are set for a trip to Old Trafford to start the new year with a rekindled rivalry against Manchester United. We’re also well on course for a trip to Wembley in the JPT if we can overcome Carlisle United in the regional final. I’m still unsure as to whether the mighty Simon Grayson can turn around our fortunes at Wembley, but I’ll try and remain optimistic should the chance arise. DOWN – The Jermaine Beckford saga The endless rumours surrounding Jermaine Beckford have been a constant area of media attention for Simon Grayson. Whilst reassurances have been made again and again by the board and manager, the national rags can’t resist linking him with every club in need of a few goals. Beckford may have made the decision to sell a little easier for Leeds United though. They’ve said all along that should a ‘ridiculous offer’ come in, then they’d have to consider it, but as it stands he’d be at Leeds until the summer. His antics against Southampton, where he sulked off the pitch and down the tunnel seem to have turned even more fans against him though and a transfer could well be inevitable. UP – It’s going to be a White Christmas Victory over Southampton put Leeds United four clear at the top of League One with a game in hand on Alan Pardew’s chasing Charlton Athletic. It also put Leeds well beyond the halfway point in expected points to win the League and the Whites’ sit comfortably on 50 points having played 21 games. This time last year, Leicester City topped the table with 47 points. Leeds have only lost once in League One so far this season and will head the table on Christmas day, just like Leicester City did last season. Simon Grayson’s record so far at Leeds United speaks for itself. Of the 57 games he’s took charge of for the Whites, Leeds have won 38 with an overall success rate of 73%. Even the legendary Don Revie couldn’t top that with his record standing at 62%. Of course, the sample size is much smaller and they competed in different leagues at different times, but under Grayson we seem to be going from strength to strength. UP – In Grayson we trust I hope Grayson has a chance to look back on his first year in charge and celebrate everything he’s achieved so far. His performance as Leeds United manager has been remarkable and he’s been the answer to every Leeds United fans prayers. A lifelong Leeds fan himself, he knows exactly what the fans expect and is striving to deliver. I congratulate him on his progress so far and hope he continues to build upon that success. Marching on together! The Original Colin I have to say that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Grayson, but I have to say one of Grayson’s high points of the year is his recurring ability to make inspired substitutions – and fire up the substitutes so much that they can change a game. The amount of games that have been turned around by Grayson’s substitutions, can’t be just luck or coincidence. It really seems like he’s got some special sense of when a game needs changing and how to change it. Matt H SG is a perfect choice as Leeds manager, he has passion, he cares for the club and its supporter, he is good in front of the media and tactically he is spot on. I think it is a bit unfair to only praise him for his substitutions as the guy above has done!! Dje I have to say that I too had my doubts about Grayson, largely on account that I hadn’t really heard of him before – and even with decades of support for the club I couldn’t remember him being associated with us. How gratefully wrong I’ve been! Grayson fully deserves all the praise he’s receiving, Bates too for going with a lesser known, young manager when it would have been easier to sign up a ‘big name’, past-it manager (no doubt on a ridiculous contract that would lead to a handsome pay-off after yet another failure 10 months down the line). Grumpy Older Man So far he has proved better than I expected. I indicated at this seasons start its time for a bit of continuty manager wise and Grayson has the opportunity to provide that. I think all of us expected a dip at some point, it hasn’t come yet but when it does I hope people will remember his 67% win ratio was always high, he has a lot of credit in the bank now. TSS We have had a dip. We drew two consecutive matches. That’s us done for season martin When Grayson took charge at Blackpool a few seasons ago they seemed to be doomed to relegation from league one, they couldn’t buy a win & it looked like he was going to get sacked, then very quietly & almost unnoticed they climbed the table & by the end they were in the playoffs & then got promoted to the championship so graysons ability to manage, inspire & influence was clear to me. After Gary Mcallisters departure i never expected he would be our new gaffer & if im honest thought “why??!” when he got the job, but he has proven to every leeds fan what he is about, he is a leeds man through & through, gives it 100% & expects the same from his players (a work ethic which has seen us grab a lot of late winners in games). In grayson we trust? hell yes! Marching on together Bobbio A leeds fan for 38 years, when i watched the SG appointment unfold my immediate thoughts were who is he?! A few days later i got chatting to a Blackpool fan in a London boozer and he said they were devasted to lose SG and he was a god like figure to all Blackpool fans. The Blackpool fan also added that SG struggled for a win in his first month or so, but then became unbeatable….I walked away thinking surely not. What can i say now other than quite surely so, SG is the real deal for me now….i think he has the respect of not just the fans but all those associated with football from players to managers to the media, I just have the 1 fear now…can we keep him?!