From Mumbai to Fleetwood: Simon Grayson's 'strange' year
Fleetwood Town boss Simon Grayson has spoken about the anxieties of being out of work for virtually a year and the difficulties of kickstarting a managerial career in a pandemic.
Less that eight weeks after becoming head coach at Highbury on a short-term contract, Grayson earned the security of a longer-term deal, having won five of his first 12 games in charge.
When the 51-year-old’s second stint as Blackpool boss ended in February last year, Grayson could not have anticipated the global crisis just around the corner and the problems that would pose for hopes of a speedy return to management.
But Grayson told the official EFL podcast that just before the outbreak of coronavirus he found himself in highly unusual surroundings.
He explained: “When the pandemic started I was in Mumbai. I went to see Martin Bain, who had been the CEO at Sunderland (one of Grayson’s former clubs) and was running the Indian Super League.
“After I’d left Blackpool he told me to come out to Mumbai, get a life experience, then we’d go on to Goa and watch the Indian Super League final.
“So I was away for 10 days just as the pandemic was starting. It was great to go and do that, then I came back to lockdown and you wonder if football is going to go back to any normality sooner rather than later.
“And as we all know, it still isn’t back in that place where we all want it to be.”
Grayson was linked with several jobs, including Wigan Athletic, during his year out, and admits it was a difficult time.
He added: “When you are out of work and want to go back to work, you are always thinking, ‘Where is the next job going to be? What am I going to do?’
“But I knew in the back of my mind that with the way football was going jobs weren’t going to come up any time soon.
“People were just sticking with their present managers through financial constraints or just giving managers extra time to see where the season goes.
“It was just a strange time for everyone. Then at the end of January the knock on the door came for me to go back to work.”
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