Leeds United F.C. History
Leeds United F.C. History : Foreword
1919-29 - The Twenties
1930-39 - The Thirties
1939-46 - The War Years
1947-49 - Post War Depression
1949-57 - The Reign of King John
1957-63 - From Charles to Revie
1961-75 - The Revie Years
1975-82 - The Downward Spiral
1982-88 - The Dark Years
1988-96 - The Wilko Years
1996-04 - The Rollercoaster Ride
2004-17 - Down Among The Deadmen
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
Players' Profiles
Managers' Profiles
Leeds City F.C. History
Leeds City F.C. Player and Manager Profiles
Leeds United/City Statistics
Leeds United/City Captains
Leeds United/City Friendlies and Other Games
Leeds United/City Reserves and Other Teams

Gray: Edwin (Eddie)

2003-2004 (Manager Details) (Manager Details) (Player Details) (First Leeds Manager Details)

Eddie Gray had a long and distinguished playing career with leeds United and Scotland which could have been even more illustrious had he not suffered from several long injuries. He had become Player-Manager of the club in 1982 after the club had suffered relegation under Allan Clarke. Replacing his former team mate, he carried on playing until hanging up his boots in 1984. He built a young energetic team but unfortunately while it played good football it did not have the necessary strength and physical power to gain promotion back to the First Division. The extremely popular and likeable Gray paid the price being sacked on 11th October 1985, much to the annoyance of the players and fans, and Director Brian Woodward was so incensed with his fellow board members that he resigned in protest. He next answered the call of his club when he joined the coaching staff in March 1995, when Howard Wilkinson brought him in to help Paul Hart with the development of the club's youngsters. He brought on Harry Kewell, Ian Harte, Alan Maybury, Andy Gray, Stephen McPhail, who all became full Internationals for their countries, and Tony Hackworth, Mark Jackson, Lee Matthews, Jason Blunt, Wesley Boyle and Paul Shepherd, all of who made the Leeds first team. Paul Robinson, Jonathan Woodgate and Matthew Jones soon came in the International category and were in the successful FA Youth Cup winning team in 1996/97 with the many of their predecessors. They also formed the nucleus of the Pontins League-winning side of the following season. Alan Smith and several others were later to join the conveyor belt of talent that was nurtured under the guidance of Eddie Gray in the Juniors and Reserve teams. After the departure of George Graham, his successor David O'Leary appointed Gray as his Assistant Manager in October 1998 and he had much to do with United's dynamic flowing football which captured the imagination of football fans throughout UK and TV audiences throughout the world. As time progressed Roy Aitken took responsibility for the Reserve team and Brian Kidd was brought in as Director of Technical and Youth Development as Gray became more involved with the first team. As David O'Leary stood back from the day to day training, Kidd and Aitken were given more influence in higher things with Kidd progressing to Head Coach in March 2001. The idea was to bring fresh ideas to the first team and for a while it worked. But, after hitting the top of the table in January 2002 United's League form slipped and the fans displeasure with former Manchester United Coach Brian Kidd worsened and he was openly slated by the fans at Everton on 3rd March 2002 as United played their tenth fixture without a win. David O'Leary departed in the summer of 2002 but his successor Terry Venables kept Gray and Kidd as his Assistant Manager and Head Coach respectively and indeed they were still in the same roles at the end of the season, after Peter Reid had taken over as Manager. However, when he was confirmed as United's permanent new Manager in the close season, he installed Kevin Blackwell as his Chief Coach, Steve Agnew as his Reserve Coach and Adrian Heath as his Chief Scout and both Eddie Gray and Brian Kidd lost their jobs on 15th May 2003. It was described as being a cost-cutting exercise by Peter Reid, who had been asked to trim "football areas" by the Chairman Professor John McKenzie. Initially both had been asked to serve out a twelve months' notice, but received a lump sum payment of 1.2 million between them, in instalments after it was decided Reid "needs to bring in his own team to help him achieve the best results". Many had expected Gray to take over the temporary reins after Terry Venables' sacking in March, and he would have been a popular choice, but Reid had been handed the job. So it came as no surprise when after Reid failed to come to grips with the enormous challenge given to him, when after a 6-1 trouncing at Fratton Park by Portsmouth and with United in bottom position, he was sacked and Eddie Gray was approached and accepted the job of Manager of the club once again. After losing his first game in charge by 2-0 against Bolton Wanderers at Elland Road, using players bought or loaned by Reid, he went back to players he had reared at Leeds and played the talented youngsters James Milner and Matthew Kilgallon as often as possible. Cyril Chapuis and Roque Junior never took the field and Lamine Sakho never started again after the Bolton game, and he, Zoumana Camara, Salomon Olembe and Jody Morris were used only in emergency. However, Didier Domi was given a run at left-back and Jermaine Pennant was a regular on the right-flank. United went to the Valley to beat Charlton Athletic as James Milner got the only goal of the game. This was followed by a very creditable draw with mega-millionaire League-leaders Chelsea and a 3-2 victory over Fulham at Elland Road, and then a 1-1 draw at Manchester City. Unfortunately, their reward for that run of four games without defeat was to still langish in nineteenth place. They extended that run to five games with a goalless draw at Elland Road on Boxing Day against Aston Villa, but still were unable to rise any higher. United lost to cellar-dwellers Wolverhampton Wanderers in their next fixture at Molineux and lost five consecutive games as the financial storm clouds threatened to send the club into extinction. Chief Executive Trevor Birch negotiated long and hard off the field to ensure the club was able to exist on a day to day basis, but Eddie Gray and his Head Coach, Kevin Blackwell, had to rely on a central defence of Michael Duberry and Matthew Kilgallon with the expected consequences, as United's run of poor results showed. The transfer window came and went with little effect, as Michael Bridges went to Newcastle United but Eddie Gray was able to loan Scottish International central defender Stephen Caldwell from the Geordies. He proved to be a solid and reliable stopper and added solidity to the United defence, particularly when in tandem with Dominic Matteo, who had been released from midfield duties by the return of Seth Johnson and Eirik Bakke from lengthy injuries. After being unlucky to lose 2-0 at Villa Park in the last of the five defeats, the new formation got its just deserts as United scored a 4-1 victory over Wolves at Elland Road to edge above them on the ladder. With Paul Robinson suspended and Scott Carson in goal on debut, United went to Old Trafford as the death of club legend John Charles was announced and against all the odds came away with a 1-1 draw as Alan Smith rose to equalise with a superb header. While still lacking the services of Lucas Radebe and David Batty, Gray was able to call upon a fairly stable team of Robinson; Kelly, Caldwell, Matteo, Harte/Domi; Pennant, Bakke/McPhail, Seth Johnson, Milner; Smith Viduka and the settled squad again rose to the occasion as they held another high-flying team, Liverpool to a 2-2 draw at Elland Road. It mattered for nothing that they had taken points from several of the top teams, as they were firmly entrenched in the bottom place and their fate was becoming more dire as each game elapsed. Another defeat at Craven Cottage by 0-2 to Fulham was followed by news that a local group of backers led by Gerald Krasner, as the figurehead, had been able to take over the club and end the financial uncertainty. The Chairmanship of Professor McKenzie and the PLC as owners of the club were at an end. The first game of the new regime was euphoric as United beat Manchester City at Elland Road on an emotion charged night to hitch themselves one place up the ladder from bottom place. While Gray was still enthuisiastic about United's chances it looked as though a miracle was needed for them to survive. As Mark Viduka scored in the first minutes at Birmingham City and United could and should have been three goals up in the first fifteen minutes, it looked as though it might just happen, but United capitulated in the second half and lost the game 4-1 and another nail had been put in the coffin. United had a succession of games against clubs in the lower echelons of the Division and Gray left his charges in no doubt about what he expected from them in the series of six pointers. United were without the services of either Stephen McPhail or Eirik Bakke and Michael Duberry was pressed into service as Dominic Matteo reverted to midfield. Duberry, Smith and Viduka scored to give United a 3-2 victory over fellow strugglers Leicester City, to keep in touch with the other clubs but the game was marred by Mark Viduka's second yellow card for time-wasting as he tried to wind down the clock. It meant that he would miss United's vital game against Portsmouth. Easter Saturday brought a visit to Ewood Park against fellow strugglers Blackburn Rovers and United totally outplayed the home team and it would not have been out of place if they had won by more than 2-1. Unfortunately for Eddie Gray he saw both Seth Johnson and Eirik Bakke fall to season-ending injuries just as the team was gaining confidence to win the challenge. United edged up to eighteenth and very close to several other teams such as Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Portsmouth and Everton who were all in poor form, as Wolves and Leicester looked to be near certainties for the drop. On the Tuesday of Easter Everton came to Elland Road and once again United were by far the better team and only a fantastic display by Ex-United Keeper Nigel Martyn in the Everton goal stopped them from getting the maximum points. It must have been heart-breaking for Gray to watch his weakened side with a half-fit Lucas Radebe and Dominic Matteo in midfield batter their Lancastrian opponents and not get the full points they deserved. It was two points lost rather than one gained and it meant that while they were still in eighteenth spot there chances of moving higher had taken a huge blow. Three days later Gray and his tired team had to travel to Highbury to face runaway leaders Arsenal for a Friday night fixture and, while hope still sprang eternal for a repeat of the previous season's result in similar circumstances, their depleted team was no match for the slick Arsenal outfit. The defence was cut to pieces at will as Arsenal totally dominated the midfield and the game, and 5-0 reflected the chasm between the two teams. The result all but sealed United's fate but Gray was still not conceding as, if they could beat Portsmouth, they were still in with a mathematical possibility of preserving their EPL life. United were in eighteenth position, two points behind Manchester City and five less than Portsmouth amd Blackburn Rovers with four games still to play. It mattered for little as a Vidukaless United soon lost Lucas Radebe and then Dominic Matteo as the extent of their injuries became apparent as Portsmouth outplayed them and were 2-0 up by half-time and, though Harte pulled one back, Portsmouth slipped out of United's range and left them with just Manchester City in their targets. United's EPL stay was over as after leading 1-0 they fell apart at Bolton Wanderers as Viduka was shown ared card and with him went United's hope of EPL survival. The longer the game continued the worse it became and 1-4 was a fair reflection of the difference between the two teams at full-time. The final home game against Charlton Athletic was played in a carnival atmosphere and in the final game at Stamford Bridge United went out without a whimper with Kevin Blackwell in charge. Eddie Gray had thought that United could stay up right until the final whistle at Bolton and was honest enough to say that United had not played well enough all season and that he never thought they would make the safety of midtable but had hoped to be better than three other teams. He conceded that the team had not been strong enough all season and that injuries to key players had not helped, but some players had under-performed and that the players had been stunned by the defeat at the hands of Portsmouth. So ended Eddie Gray's second stint as United Manager and Kevin Blackwell was appointed for their first season in the CCCL. Gray was believed to hold a position at the club as football consultant and also became the analyst on Yorkshire Radio during Leeds' matchdays.

F.A. Cup100114