Andy Gray regrets missed opportunity

05/12/2015  21 Comments  [Jump to last]

Andy Gray, famously turned down the opportunity to manage the Blues in 1997 after being tempted to remain at Sky Sports as a pundit but he now says it was a missed opportunity

The former Everton striker was on a short-list of two names to succeed Joe Royle on a permanent basis following his departure from the Goodison hotseat in March but then Chairman Peter Johnson eventually appointed Howard Kendall to a third term as manager after Gray took himself out of the running.

After a number of high-profile candidates like Sir Bobby Robson were approached to replace Royle, Gray was offered the position a lucrative new contract offered by Sky was enough to persuade him to turn down the chance to take the help of the club he helped to an FA Cup triumph in 1984 and both the League Championship and the European Cup Winners' Cup the following year.

It's something that I wish I'd done when I had an opportunity," Gray told national radio station talkSPORT. "You can always go back to TV. Television will always be there.

My chance was at Everton. I felt it was the wrong time but I think now it's something I wish I'd had a go at because I could have always gone back to TV."


Reader Comments (21)

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Matt Traynor
1 Posted 05/12/2015 at 06:24:16
He was right, it was the wrong club; wrong time to cut your teeth as a manager. But he also doubled his pay at Sky out of it, so I'd say he did alright. He'd still be there now if it wasn't for his misogyny that did for him and Keyes.

They're doing alright in Qatar now, although I wouldn't be surprised to see them make a return at some point now Neville has left for Villarreal.

Paul Thompson
2 Posted 05/12/2015 at 08:42:02
I don't.
Colin Glassar
3 Posted 05/12/2015 at 09:21:18
I've always found him to be (when a Sky pundit) very condescending towards us over the years. I have never forgiven him for the "Get in there you beauuuuuty" either.
Ian Bennett
4 Posted 05/12/2015 at 09:21:55
A brave player, but he bottled this decision.

Fair play to Gary Neville for taking it on. He's put his arse on the line, and hope he does alright.

Dave Williams
5 Posted 05/12/2015 at 10:52:03
Totally agree, Ian; he bottled it and showed that he hadn't got it to be a manager.

Neville has shown desire and guts which he always had as a player – he just needs to show he can manage players now and I hope he succeeds.

Anyone who hates the RS as much as he does is ok by me!!

Lee Courtliff
6 Posted 05/12/2015 at 12:39:17
Neville going to Spain has probably made Gray think. Whatever happens, Gary Neville will know one way or another if he can cut it in management.

Good luck to him, hated as player but almost universally respected as a pundit. I'll miss him on MNF.

Gray will always wonder, "What if?"

Liam Reilly
7 Posted 06/12/2015 at 09:34:20
I know pundits are required to be unbiased, but you can generally tell who they have an affinity with.

Gray never gave an impression that he saw us as anything but an also-ran and clearly favoured the Sky 4 (Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea and the RS).

I suspect, with Neville taking the plunge, Gray sees some unfinished business. Glad it's not with us.

Matt Traynor
8 Posted 06/12/2015 at 10:26:59
Liam #7, Gray probably feels (like a few fans) that we binned him off too early. After we won the league in 85, we signed Lineker to play alongside Sharp, and back then of course squads weren't so huge, so he was sold back to a former club Villa. He did next to nothing for the rest of his career - won the SPL with his only season at Rangers.

I'm pretty sure Gray himself was resentful of the way he was discarded (though I don't recall him ever being critical of the fanbase). At the time, HK was clearly trying to evolve the style though, something which we saw the season after Lineker, when we regained the league with a brand of football many saw as less exciting than in 85.

Eugene Ruane
9 Posted 06/12/2015 at 11:38:45
It's funny, I tend to give heroes (certainly Everton heroes) a bit more leeway than I might others who turn out a bit..erm..'golf club twat.'

In 84/85 I was 24/25 and Andy Gray scoring for Everton was as thrilling as it got.

Simple too. Bang – GOAL!! We went mad, he went mad, one big love in – with trophies.

I was gutted when he left – loved him.

But..that was then.

Now I'm 56 and even with the leeway, he's someone I'm 99.9% sure I wouldn't like.

Having heard some of his (Sky) workplace 'banter' (banter = the word that launched and excused a thousand unfunny, hurtful digs) I'm fairly sure much of the stuff we didn't hear would make your hair curl.

My guess is, expressions along the lines 'You see the thing is, most of them don't want to work' and/or 'Well the problem is they won't assimilate into our ways' (stated while drinking a pint of bitter in the Beefeater bar, Dubai) are probably never far from his lips.

And my... er... 'point': I also think he bottled it. ('Do wot, Arfur!')

He talks (and talked) a good fight, but when push came to shove, Sky was safe, Everton was scary – he chose safe.

(By the way, for anyone violently disagreeing with my opinion – 'Tut, it's only a bit of banter...')

Paul Jeronovich
10 Posted 06/12/2015 at 12:03:37
Too young to fully appreciate him from our successful sides unfortunately. My recent memories are of him and a lot of other pundits love affair with LFC. Therefore due to my hatred of LFC and all it represents, I don't give a toss about him or his opinions.
Frank Crewe
11 Posted 06/12/2015 at 14:24:05
Like all TV pundits, he talks a good game but I doubt he would make much of a manager.

For a start, they always want to begin their careers by managing a Premier League club. Nobody wants to start at the bottom and work their way up. But if you want to learn the fundamentals of football management you have to start at smaller clubs.

Just because you were a fans' favourite at a big club doesn't mean you can manage them. Look what happened to Shearer at the Barcodes. Put him off management for life. He discovered it's not as easy at it looks.

Personally I think he just used Everton to get a big pay rise out of Sky and never had any serious intention of going into management at Everton or anywhere else.

Probably would have shit a brick if we had took him up on it.

Mike Berry
12 Posted 06/12/2015 at 15:19:02
If he had taken us on, we'd be doing a Bolton by now.
Sam Barrett
13 Posted 06/12/2015 at 15:40:12
Andy Gray would have put his head against a speeding locomotive in his time at Everton. He never gave 100% he ALWAYS gave more.

He may be a shit pundit but a pundit for SKY he was. It was his job to suck up to their favoured teams. For what it's worth I don't think he would've made a good manager and maybe he did bottle it and settle for the safety of SKY punditry.

He never ever bottled it whilst wearing an Everton shirt. I've been watching Everton for nearly 40 years and my favourite game of all time was Bayern at Goodison. A game where Andy Gray physically tore apart their back four. I wish a few of our current players would give half the effort Andy did in his time at Everton.

Dave Pritchard
14 Posted 06/12/2015 at 15:47:56
I never understood why Everton wanted Gray as manager when he had no experience whatsover. Gary Neville isn't quite the same as at least he has some coaching experience but still a surprise to me that he is starting management at such a high level. Time will tell.
Kieran Kinsella
15 Posted 06/12/2015 at 17:08:42
Gray did have a stint as AM to Big Ron that blew up in his face after he quit Sky. He put it to Ron on live TV that Coventry hadn't been trying after a defeat...

Ron went into a Keeganesque tirade about Gray taking the easy way out by quitting as his coach to sit and talk glib bullshit in the Sky Sports studio.

Matt Traynor
16 Posted 07/12/2015 at 06:19:58
Kieran #15 - the irony being that it was an ill-judged comment from Bojangles that did for his media career as well. They should've been kindred spirits!
Peter Roberts
17 Posted 11/12/2015 at 23:19:59
I have read Gray's autobiography where he put it to Agent Johnson he'd need about 㿀m for new players, and that it was all agreed by the board bar one dissenting voice who wanted Howard back.

Now I wonder who the dissenter might have been. Eh, Bill?

As for the man himself, he'd been an AM at Villa but never top dog, coming to us at that time as a new manager would have been boom or bust for both of us. In hindsight it was probably the right decision.

Jay Harris
19 Posted 18/12/2015 at 21:24:07
Great player... asshole as a person. Went the same way as Moyes, didn't give us a second thought after they left, so that's how I feel about them now. Good while they were here but no affinity either way now.
Colin Glassar
20 Posted 18/12/2015 at 21:32:13
A bit like Lineker, Jay?
Tony Hill
21 Posted 18/12/2015 at 22:23:09
Yes, Lineker was one of the first pure modern mercenaries. Gray is football's Jim Davidson. I can forgive Gray more, for obvious reasons.
Peter McHugh
22 Posted 19/12/2015 at 00:13:45
Colin you're correct but so out of order it's untrue. Gray loved Everton but Kendall wanted to sell. Precisely the same with Lineker who was gutted we decided to sell.

I asked Kendall about both decisions and he said it was the right call. I still disagree but, at the same time, only he could make the 83 team trophy winners. At the end of day his opinion carries far more weight than mine.

I also asked him about the Beardsley sale and he also thought that was the correct decision (which I again vehemently disagree).

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