Simon Grayson has lifted the lid on his deep-seated frustrations while managing Leeds United – and insists a lack of backing stopped him achieving his Premier League dream with his boyhood club.
The Huddersfield Town boss and ex-Whites chief faces his first reunion with his former club tomorrow following his sacking at the start of February, which left a sour taste in his mouth.
Grayson was hurt by what he considered to be wholly unfair comments in the press from within the club immediately after his axing.
And despite maintaining his dignity in the wake of his departure, he has decided to speak out ahead of Saturday’s derby.
He said: “I have never come out and slaughtered everyone at that football club. I left with a lot of dignity.
“Many things were said when I left and I did not take too kindly to one or two people saying things that didn’t need to be said.
“We left with dignity. We did a lot for that football club; not just myself, but Glynn Snodin and Ian Miller. We worked extremely hard to take Leeds forward.
“Everybody says we were not given the opportunity to take the club forward. The time when we should have moved forward was the season we finished seventh (in 2010-11). We should have progressed that summer to buy players when really we stood still and hence we were where we were when we left, but also where the club went onto finish that (last) season.”
While Grayson insists his personal relationship with Ken Bates was good during his time at United, he felt the way the United chairman handled his departure left a lot to be desired with it left to chief executive officer Shaun Harvey to deliver the news the morning after the Birmingham City game on January 31.
Grayson said: “It was frustrating and disappointing because I had a good relationship with him (Bates). I’d go out to Monaco and we’d share a laugh and a joke on a regular basis. We had a real good understanding.
“It was Shaun (who sacked me). Ken was flying back from South Africa, so he did not even see the (Birmingham) game.
“The last time I spoke to him was probably five o’clock before the Birmingham game when I told him the team and what we’d be doing. And I have never heard a word (from him) since.
“It was disappointing because we had a close personal relationship. Forget being sacked...
“I actually was going to fuel my frustrations a little bit more after the Birmingham game, but was held back a little bit because I did not want to upset one or two people. Maybe I should have done because I got the sack the next morning anyway...”
While it’s considered the tomorrow’s A62 derby traditionally means more to Town than Leeds, Grayson insists that his old club will be caring massively about claiming the bragging rights tomorrow, with the game seeing Whites boss Neil Warnock, coach Ronnie Jepson, Town coaching duo Glyn Snodin and Ian Miller, United skipper Lee Peltier, Adam Clayton and, possibly, Jermaine Beckford face their former clubs.
He added: “I know from the Leeds point of view, people there are playing it down saying this is not the biggest game in their season. But believe me, if Huddersfield win at the weekend, Leeds fans will be absolutely devastated because of the banter and stick they were get.
“And if Leeds win and their fans go into work on Monday, they are going to stick give stick to Huddersfield fans. It means a lot to both sets of supporters and football clubs, as much as Leeds like to play it down.”