Boyhood Leeds United fan Grayson and Sunderland boss Simon Grayson has reflected on his time with the Elland Road club ahead of the crunching Championship match between the two sides tonight.
Grayson is a Leeds academy graduate who had the privilege to manage the club from 2008 to 2012.
“I’ve taken all the 1973 FA Cup final pictures down this week because of my affinity with Leeds – I’m joking, of course!” he said.
“It has played a massive part in this club’s history, as much as it hurts a lot of people from the Leeds area.
“Both Sunderland and Leeds are massive football clubs and these are the games you want to be involved in as a player, and as a manager, in front of the TV cameras.”
Grayson secured Leeds’ promotion to the Championship from League One in 2010. But a string of inconsistent results coupled with no serious charge at the Championship title, resulted in him losing his job.
“We won promotion from League One and we had a really good squad at the time.
“Up to the window, we were second in the league and it looked like we might go up again but we will fell away a bit.
“We had some good players coming through – Gradel, Snodgrass, Howson, Becchio, Schmeichel, to mention a few. They have all gone on to have good careers.
“We had a good group, but it is just part of the history books – what nearly was, what might have been.”
But the 47-year-old maintains that he will remain focused on the job ahead – that is to get three points against his former side.
“I’m here now to try and do a job and beat them tomorrow,” he said.
“I watched them against Fulham on Tuesday night so I’ve seen them first hand. I’ve got a rough idea but like any manager, he can change the system and personnel at any time.
“It goes back to what we do, we’ve got to keep the ball probably a bit better than we did on Wednesday night, we had some good possession and gave it away sloppily at times. We want to give it a go and try and get three points.”
The two sides are level on points on the Championship table after three games, winning one and drawing two matches.