During the halcyon autumn months of 2009, when Leeds United were
carrying all before them in League One, there were few who seriously
doubted the club's seemingly divine right to promotion; their
4-2 victory at Stockport on 28 December left them eleven points
clear of third-placed Norwich City, having sustained a single
defeat in 23 games which saw them concede a mere 13 goals.
They seemed likely to confirm promotion some weeks before the
end of the campaign. However, a run of poor League One results
after Christmas derailed United's imperious progress. The excitement
of playing in televised FA Cup-ties against Manchester United
and Spurs had taken the eye off the
ball and probably bred some unconscious complacency among the
players, despite the words of caution from the manager. Victory
at Old Trafford gave way to a home draw with Wycombe; a
draw at White Hart Lane was followed by a 3-0 defeat at Swindon.
Team morale and togetherness were understandably sapped by headlines
about Jermaine Beckford's supposed preoccupation with a big money
move to a club at a higher level. His transfer request and apparent
lack of team spirit resulted in some disaffection from the fans.
A truly dismal series of results saw United slump to fourth place
by the beginning of April, suffering four successive defeats against
promotion rivals without troubling the scorers. Promotion hopes
were hanging by the most tenuous of threads.
A revival began with a 2-1 victory at Yeovil on Easter Monday,
5 April, courtesy of two rare goals from club captain Richard
Naylor. The result steadied the Elland Road ship, restoring some
much-needed confidence; jitters on the part of other clubs left
Leeds in pole position to secure the second automatic promotion
A 4-1 defeat of Milton Keynes Dons on
24 April gave United a single-point advantage over Millwall
and clear breathing space ahead of Swindon, Charlton and Huddersfield.
Norwich were almost certain champions having confirmed promotion
with victory at Charlton on 17 April.
The following weekend had the Addicks hosting Leeds at The Valley,
Millwall away to Tranmere, Swindon entertaining Brentford and
Huddersfield at home to Colchester.
Phil Hay in the Yorkshire Evening Post:
"Believe, urged the message at the front of The Valley's away
end and Leeds United did. But the heavy clouds that crowded out
the sunshine as the banner unfurled warned that their day would
of perfection. Perfect it nearly was, contrary to the realism
that abounded in Leeds before their game at Charlton Athletic.
"Promotion in London was never widely expected, or not by the
majority who went there with that prospect in mind. For almost
an hour, the club were a single goal shy of achieving it, in a
season when they have already scored 100. Still the most elusive
of prizes strayed beyond reach, relief delayed for another week.
"The rub on Saturday was a League One table which required Millwall
to lose to Tranmere Rovers in order for Leeds to free themselves
finally of what Ken Bates, United's chairman, once called 'this
accursed division.' Tranmere rose to the occasion spectacularly,
scoring two unanswered goals which generated as much euphoria
at The Valley as they did on the Wirral. But there were two sides
to the bargain, the other demanding that Leeds put Charlton to
the sword. The full might of United's cavalry was beaten back
and eventually breached two minutes from time.
back to top
"Akpo Sodje opened the only wound in London, forcing a goal that
was later credited to Leeds captain, Richard Naylor, but it need
not prove fatal. 'Our destiny's still in our own hands,' said
Grayson, a familiar remark in post-match discussions. And so it
is, dependent entirely on a game against Bristol Rovers which
is immune to hyperbole.
"There was, in the body language of United's manager, the hint
of disappointment and an opportunity forsaken in London. He promised
before Saturday that he would take no heed of developments at
Prenton Park but Millwall's game against Tranmere was an elephant
in the room, too large and obdurate to ignore. Both he and Phil
Parkinson, Charlton's manager, were patently aware of Millwall's
trials long before full time.
"Leeds' supporters made plain the scoreline, communicating Tranmere's
first goal at the end of the first half and spreading news of
their second later in the match. By then, Grayson had been infected
by the optimism which was rife inside The Valley, unable to resist
an effort to achieve the improbable. Leeds reached the final whistle
with five strikers on the field, cut loose by a manager who dispensed
"If his tactics came at the cost of a point - Grayson implied
that they had, saying he would 'take responsibility for losing
the game' - then it was only fair to admire his sense of adventure.
The situation on Saturday seemed to justify it, a time for more
than half measures.
"For as long as the match at Charlton remained goalless, United's
imminent game against Bristol Rovers remained relevant. So laboured
has been his squad's crawl to the line that Grayson was unlikely
to contain himself when
the opportunity to take a decisive step forward finally arose.
Better that, many would say, than to die wondering.
"Charlton's goal arrived at the very end of a rousing fixture,
dominated by Leeds before the interval and dictated by Charlton
afterwards. Sodje's header was a messy coup de grace but Grayson's
biggest regret was his side's failure to score when their performance
was at its height, late in the first half. Charlton wriggled off
the hook and made the most of their escape.
"As early as the second minute, Parkinson was quietly thanking
Max Gradel for driving a shot against the body of Darren Randolph
after Sam Sodje - Akpo's brother and a one time loanee at Elland
Road - sold his goalkeeper the shortest of back passes. Gradel
advanced towards Randolph but lacked the precision to place the
ball to either side of him. By such fine margins was the game
won and lost, never more so than in the 34th minute when a crucial
deflection off Deon Burton prevented Neill Collins from squeezing
the ball under Charlton's crossbar.
"In between those chances, Bradley Johnson's volley gave Randolph
a fright and another shot from Gradel trundled wide while Johnson
and Luciano Becchio stretched Parkinson's defence. Yet Charlton
threatened, as a team in their prominent League position were
liable to do. Burton's volley on the turn was met by the palms
of Shane Higgs who dived to his right to meet their most dangerous
effort of the half.
"Organised and purposeful though Leeds were, Grayson did not
set out with reckless abandon. His astute selection of Michael
Doyle, pushing Johnson to the left wing and Sanchez Watt to the
bench, was an unashamed call for muscle in his midfield, sacrificing
the pace and flair offered by Watt. Only when the picture at Prenton
Park became clear did Grayson decide that ambition was the better
part of valour.
"It was obvious as he walked to the tunnel at half time that
events in Birkenhead were becoming interesting. The stand behind
Higgs' goal bounced in response to information - accurate, as
it turned out - that Ian Thomas-Moore, a former player of theirs,
had converted a penalty and given Tranmere a valuable lead. 'Just
one goal and Leeds are up,' came the chant from their end of the
field, a small wish at the tail end of an extremely long season.
back to top
"Ironically, Parkinson claimed that the news spread by United's
crowd was as much of a help for his players as it was for Grayson's.
Charlton had nowhere to hide on Saturday, certain that their fragile
claim to automatic promotion was utterly dependent on beating
Leeds. They might still fall short, despite League One concertinaing
behind United, but they attacked the second half with an attitude
which suggested Parkinson had ordered them to go for broke.
"Grayson was ready to do the same, and Jermaine Beckford entered
the fray as a substitute in the 64th minute. Watt soon followed
him and Mike Grella was added to a top heavy team seven minutes
from time, shortly before United conceded the game's only goal.
"The teams went toe-to-toe, ceaselessly. At one end of the field,
Higgs parried a Therry Racon
shot with one arm and watched Sam Sodje nod a ridiculous header
over an open goal from a position where he could hardly miss.
At the other end, Robert Snodgrass dragged a tired attempt into
Randolph's hands and Beckford sidefooted the ball wide after Gradel
picked him out with a low cross to the near post. All the while,
the implications of a goal in United's favour hung in the air.
"Grayson's defence grew increasingly ragged as the second half
progressed, and more so once right-back Andrew Hughes made way
for Grella. It was amid random, disorganised marking that Akpo
Sodje's header forced Naylor to throw himself at the ball and
send it flying into the roof of Higgs' net. At that late stage,
Charlton might just have earned their victory.
"As the game slipped into injury time, Kyel Reid clipped a free
kick against a post and Beckford's header on the end of Gradel's
cross brought a save from Randolph which defied description of
its brilliance. Regardless of it, Grayson had already accepted
that a win over Bristol Rovers was the only answer to the question
of how to escape this damned League. For a club used to living
life the hard way, it seems a straightforward scenario."
The equation left as the outcome of the day's results was clear:
a win at Elland Road against Bristol Rovers on 8 May and United
would be promoted. Anything less and Millwall, Swindon (who would
face each other at the New Den that afternoon), Charlton or even
Huddersfield could yet deny them.
Simon Grayson: "I'd have loved to have had it done with and finished,
but we just couldn't get that goal. I thought we played well and
we controlled the game for large parts. I'll take responsibility
for the last few minutes because we had five strikers on trying
to get the goal to get us promoted. Their keeper made a couple
of great saves and for large parts we were the better side. We
had a good shape about us, we limited them, and it was only late
on that they tested us.
"In the end the result didn't make a difference to us because
we still need to win next weekend. The players are disappointed
that they came so close, but there's no heads down.
"This weekend could change the club's destiny, our fortunes and
our future. People will be building the game up, but we'll try
to prepare properly and focus as much as we can do to get ourselves
ready to go. It'll be a normal week and a normal routine.
"As it pans out, we've got one game to win. Basically, it's a
one-game season. There's great determination here to see it through."
Grayson decided on a number of changes for the big game. Skipper
and central defender Richard Naylor was unavailable through injury
and a weary Robert Snodgrass was consigned to the subs' bench.
Leigh Bromby was recalled to play in the centre of defence and
Jermaine Beckford was named in the starting line up for the first
time in a month, with the manager also naming him captain
for a game that was rumoured to be his farewell appearance before
a close season free transfer to Everton.
It was a truly extraordinary day, full of the highest drama;
it even had the obligatory pantomime villain for the supporters
to boo to their hearts' content.
There was a season's best 38,000 crowd packed into an Elland
Road stadium that buzzed with tangible electricity, albeit with
an all-pervading anxiety about it. With a nod to their glorious
heritage, United took the field in the new, all-white kit that
they would sport during the 2010/11 season.
United began the game pressing forward strongly and put the Rovers
goal in danger several times. They were awarded a free kick when
Daniel Jones challenged Max Gradel on the right flank. Neil Kilkenny
sent the dead ball in but the chance came to nothing.
After three minutes, the news came in of the first score of import:
Daniel Ward slammed home a low volley for fourth-placed Swindon
Town at Millwall after a free kick from former Leeds midfielder
Jonathan Douglas was only partially cleared. It took the Wiltshire
side (85 points) above Leeds (84). With Huddersfield Town (83)
having gone ahead seconds earlier at Exeter, Millwall (82) were
down to fifth.
At 3.15, there was more drama involving Douglas at Millwall,
when he brought down Shaun Batt in the area. Steve Morison made
no mistake with the penalty for the South Londoners, beating former
Leeds keeper David Lucas to make it 1-1; United were back up to
second with the Lions restored to third.
Nine minutes later, Nicky Bailey put Charlton 1-0 up at Oldham
to draw the Addicks level on 84 points with Leeds, but behind
them on goal difference. At the same time, Huddersfield conceded
at Exeter, dropping them back to sixth.
back to top
Meanwhile in the feverish atmosphere of Elland Road, the Whites
continued to push on.
Beckford was showing some real commitment on his recall and some
sterling work by him out near the left hand corner flag set Johnson
free. The midfielder's dangerous cross was palmed away by keeper
Mikkel Andersen. Then Max Gradel got the better of Daniel Jones
on the left, capitalising on his slip to reach the byline and
progress at pace along it. Just when it looked he would try and
beat everybody all on his own, he hammered a low cross to the
back post where a Rovers defender beat Luciano Becchio to the
ball. Gradel would have been better advised to lay the ball back
gently to the edge of the area for Beckford, who would have had
a straightforward opportunity to score.
Possession was recovered by Leeds and when Shane Lowry's header
came looping back in it seemed to be dropping nicely for Beckford
in space on the six-yard line. It looked a clear opening but he
chose to take the dropping ball first time and was
inches from connecting with his shot and the opportunity was lost.
Minutes later Kilkenny played Gradel in on the right but he sliced
his shot well wide when both Kilkenny and Beckford were waiting
for the pass that would have left them with a clear sight on goal.
Gradel's shot was so wayward that the ball bobbled out for a throw
deep on the far side.
The jumpiness of the Leeds players was starting to mirror the
mood of the crowd. After a confident opening with Gradel a constant
menace from the right flank and Beckford threatening on the shoulder
of the defenders, anxiety started to set in. As half chance after
half chance came and went without being converted, nerves took
hold. In the stands, unease was starting to give way to real unrest.
At the same time, Bristol, devoid of any pressure, could play
their own game and Joe Kuffour posed a constant threat with his
powerful, direct forward play. He took every opportunity to run
at the Leeds rearguard and on one occasion as he cut inside, Kilkenny
was forced to hammer the ball out for a corner to prevent him
getting in a shot.
When Beckford did manage to put the ball into Rovers' net, coolly
beating goalkeeper Andersen from Neil Kilkenny's through ball
in the 32nd minute, he saw his effort ruled out for offside by
referee Graham Salisbury. And then the game boiled over with an
ugly confrontation that might have destroyed United's season.
In the move that led up to the disallowed goal there had been
a coming together between Gradel and Jones, which left the winger
writhing on the floor. The diminutive Ivorian winger was determined
to right the wrong he felt he had suffered at the feet of the
defender. Following the offside decision, Gradel, his judgement
suspended by a rush of blood, took the law into his own hands
and stamped on Jones. The Rovers player threw himself to the turf,
theatrically clutching his face as the diminutive Gradel towered
righteously over him.
There was a mass confrontation between the teams and angry pushing
After consulting with his assistant, referee Salisbury sent Gradel
from the field. The Leeds player was a man possessed, however,
angrily pointing at the mark of studs on his socks. He reacted
furiously to his dismissal, impulsively seeking to confront both
the referee and Jones.
Matters looked likely to get out of hand and it required the
determined intervention of Jermaine Beckford and Michael Doyle
to persuade Gradel to leave the playing arena. Indeed, Doyle had
little alternative other than to physically hoist Gradel off the
field when he would not respond to the pushing and shoving of
Beckford, who knew instinctively what would happen unless he got
his hot tempered team mate off the pitch. Gradel wasn't finished
yet, though, and returned for another go. Two hefty stewards led
him down the tunnel as Simon
Grayson sought to reorganise the ten men who remained on the field.
Grayson: "I still don't know why he was sent off, but I was very
disappointed with his reaction. He must have thought he'd let
everyone down. He'll learn from it and he won't do it again."
Jones was cautioned for his part in proceedings and was roundly
booed throughout the rest of the game.
Leigh Bromby brought the ball forward and played it through for
Bradley Johnson to get in a shot from thirty yards, but the midfielder
could only curl the ball harmlessly into the clutches of goalkeeper
back to top
Rovers capitalised on their sudden numerical advantage, pressing
forward. Darryl Duffy was booked for one challenge on Shane Higgs
as the goalkeeper caught a lofted cross from the right. Michael
Doyle followed the striker into the book during stoppage time.
After more than five minutes of added time the game reached the
interval without a goal. The officials and players left the field
surrounded by security staff to a loud chorus of boos. United
goalkeeping coach Andy Beasley appeared to clash with Rovers boss
Paul Trollope as the crowd jeered with bitter anger.
Referee Salisbury was heckled for the rest of the afternoon with
taunts of "This game's too big
for you" and "You're not fit to referee", as the siege mentality
at Elland Road boiled over.
United's afternoon grew even more wretched two minutes after
the restart as Bristol took a surprise lead. Villain of the peace
Jones got possession on the left flank and dropped his shoulder
to make space outside Andy Hughes before looping a centre beyond
the far post. Leeds had enough defenders in attendance to feel
comfortable but they assumed the cross was sailing safely out
for a goal kick. Joe Kuffour would not give up the cause, though,
and was there to hook it back across the face of goal. Duffy was
given sufficient time and space by Bromby to get the ball under
control before firing past Higgs from close range. It was one
of only two Rovers efforts on target all afternoon.
Almost simultaneously, Charlton took a 2-0 lead at Oldham by
way of a free kick from Miguel Angel Llera. The way the results
stood at that moment, Charlton (84 points) were in second, followed
by Leeds, Millwall and Swindon (all on 83).
Silence and despair prevailed all round Elland Road, but the
injustice of the goal seemed to galvanise the ten men of United.
Becchio was booked after 48 minutes for a meaningless challenge
on the goalkeeper as he went to catch a high ball, but there was
soon a more incisive threat on the Bristol goal.
In the 54th minute, Simon Grayson threw caution to the wind and
brought Jonny Howson on for Shane Lowry, with Johnson moving to
an attacking wing back role on the left. Within five minutes of
stepping onto the turf, the Leeds-born midfielder had sent the
crowd into raptures with an equaliser struck as sweetly as could
Howson had already had three sighters on goal when Johnson's
miscued long ball from the left found Becchio on the edge of the
area. He laid it back for Howson who curled it home beautifully
from just outside the D. The home fans exploded with relief as
the young schemer raced to them to demand even louder vocal support.
back to top
Howson was a man inspired and burst through again on the right,
but when the ball ran loose to Johnson at the far post he flashed
his drive impulsively into the crowd.
Three minutes later, the news came through that Millwall (85
points) had leapfrogged Leeds and Charlton (both 84) by taking
a 2-1 lead against Swindon (82) as Town captain Gordon Greer put
through his own net.
But the momentum was with Leeds and the fervent crowd went wild
when their heroes took the lead for the first time in the 63rd
Leigh Bromby's long throw into the Rovers penalty area was gathered
safely by goalkeeper Anderson after a skirmish, but he recklessly
attempted to throw it quickly to the right flank. His distribution
was wild, however, and the ball skimmed off the head of the nearby
Beckford and fell to Johnson on the left. The midfielder chested
it down and made his way at pace deep into the area. He hammered
the ball at goal but Chris Lines blocked it. The ball sat up nicely
and goalscorer supreme Beckford was on it in an instant to scuff
a shot under the keeper and over the line for his 31st goal of
Cue Bedlam at Elland Road as United regained second place in
But with just the one goal between the teams and tension gnawing
hungrily away at everyone in the ground, this was to be no cakewalk.
United tried desperately for the third goal that would make the
game safe, but had reason to be thankful to Shane Higgs after
72 minutes when the keeper dived bravely to gather at the feet
of the onrushing Kuffour as the striker attempted to go round
him. It was every bit as vital a contribution as the goals of
Howson and Beckford.
Seconds later Andy Williams, just on as sub for Charlie Reece,
made space for himself in the area but ballooned his shot into
the crowd when he seemed to have done all the hard work by leaving
Neill Collins on the seat of his pants.
In the 75th minute, Leeds won a free kick on the right when Lines
climbed all over Becchio to an aerial ball. Kilkenny's free kick
to the far post was met powerfully by Leigh Bromby's head, but
the ball found only the foot of the upright and was cleared.
back to top
Over in South London, Millwall kept the pressure on, with Steve
Morison putting them 3-1 ahead with a spectacular strike from
distance. Billy Paynter glanced home a header from Alan Sheehan's
free kick to bring Swindon back to 3-2, but as long as Leeds retained
their lead they would be up.
In the 88th minute at Elland Road Simon Grayson brought Sanchez
Watt on for Becchio to run down the clock.
As the game neared full time, Jeff Hughes arrowed a testing Rovers
free kick from the left flank in at the near post. The ball was
clutched gratefully at the second attempt by Higgs, athletically
diving low down to his left to protect his station.
With the game edging into five minutes of injury time, the manager
sent Robert Snodgrass on for Beckford, who went off to a hero's
farewell, pausing to symbolically hand the captain's armband to
With the tension almost too much to bear, referee Salisbury blew
his whistle to signify the end of the game. This extraordinary
contest was finally over and Leeds had held out for a memorable
All the official requests to stay off the pitch proved completely
irrelevant. The massive crowd were not going to let a moment like
this pass quietly after so many years of frustration. Thousands
poured onto the playing surface in never to be forgotten scenes
of exultant celebration, the like of which had not been seen at
Elland Road for many a year. It took a plea from Simon Grayson
to restore some order so the players could come out for a well-deserved
lap of honour and join in the fun.
One of the players who most enjoyed the post-match celebrations
was the unsung Andy Hughes, who later recalled events at a function
in April when it seemed United would miss out on promotion.
"I was chatting to one supporter when another came up to him
and said 'Don't speak to the players, they're all a disgrace'.
I tried to stop him and talk it over but he wasn't interested.
All he'd say was 'You're peeing promotion up the wall'. That hurt
and I take offence at anyone telling me I don't care. Football's
my job and it goes home with me. It always has.
back to top
"I made a point of remembering his face and I hope I'll bump
into him one day. Nothing aggressive and nothing clever - I'd
just like him to admit that I was right and he was wrong. We're
not bottlers and we do care.
"I'm 32 and I don't think I'll see another moment like this...
That's why I made no effort to get to the tunnel when the supporters
invaded the pitch on Saturday. I thought 'I've waited a long time
for this moment and I want to soak up every second.' If that means
getting crushed by the celebrations of 5,000 fans then that's
fine by me. I know what they've been through in League One because
I've seen it all.
"When you're young, football is all about skill and technique.
That's what gets drummed into you. But the older you get, the
more you see another side of the game - the need to turn teams,
to get in their faces and to run them into the ground. In this
League, you need horrible footballers. I'd put players like myself
and Michael Doyle in that bracket, and that's not disrespectful
to him, not in the slightest.
"You can't overestimate the value of a Michael Doyle - someone
who bites away at the opposition until they're totally demoralised.
I've seen many teams get to the point where they can't handle
any more of his tackling and scrapping. You'd get nowhere without
"From my first day here, I knew and accepted that there were
better footballers here than me. I wouldn't compare myself to
someone like Jonny Howson. But I always said that Leeds would
get every drop of energy and blood from me if they wanted it and
I've given as much as I can for three years. It's been ups and
downs every week. It's never quiet here, ever.
"There's pressure on you constantly but isn't that what football's
about? Going to a mid table club and messing around with nothing
to play for isn't for me. That's why I came here and why I want
"Of course I was worried. When (Bristol Rovers) scored, I look
round and the first face I saw was Bradley Johnson's. He looked
devastated. It was a pretty emotional moment because you knew
it was all or nothing. I'll never forget the last half hour. We
made it happen against the odds and that's what I kept trying
to say to the fans who doubted us - judge us when the season finishes."
Jonny Howson, scorer of the equaliser, was rewarded with an extension
to his three-contract after the game and
was just as delighted as Hughes.
"I've grown up supporting this club, I've loved my time here,
and extending it by another season is fantastic. I think when
you know you're wanted as a player you tend to play better yourself.
I just enjoy playing football and doing something I love every
"I was stuck for words, the adrenaline and the buzz took over.
I was just so glad we did it. It's hard to put it into words what
it felt like. Coming down to the last game and the way it panned
out... That doubt starts to kick in. I was sat on the bench thinking
we might not do it, but you never know what's around the corner.
"As the song goes we've had our ups and downs. In my three years
we've had a relegation and two Play Off defeats, and it's nice
to end the season on a high."
Howson figured in 45 of the 46 League games, but had found himself
on the subs' bench for the final games of the campaign. "Watching
is the worst thing as a player because you can't affect it. For
me personally, there was just a slight doubt starting to kick
in. It's not over until the final whistle but one goal down and
a man down is a problem against any team. But we kept believing
- everybody on the pitch kept believing - and we've pulled it
"When you come off the bench, you just want to make an impact
and put yourself about. I can't remember too much about the goal
and it was a bit of pot luck but I knew when I hit it that it
had a chance of going in. It's definitely the most important goal
back to top
"A few of us have been at this club through all of it - the
15-point deduction, relegation
from the Championship, losing in the
Play Offs and everything else. It's great to achieve what
we set out to achieve and, as I said to people close to me before
the game, it's nice to finish the season with a smile on my face.
"It's my fourth season and the other three have always left me
disappointed. I'm just pleased that we've done this and it'll
be nice now to get a full season in the Championship."
Simon Grayson described the win as a "fantastic achievement.
We didn't do it the easy way after going down to 10 men and a
goal behind early in the second half. Credit to the players. It
was a fantastic effort from everybody... It's never easy when
you've got ten men to play with, but we've got belief and determination
that we could do it. They kept going right until the end. Full
credit to them. They are a fantastic bunch of players to work
The manager also spoke about Jermaine Beckford, who had played
a marvellous game, fully justifying Grayson's decision to name
him captain. "Jermaine has become a hero. Whether he leaves is
a question for another time. He is out of contract but responded
in the right manner to what I asked of him. Jermaine got the goal
but I thought the whole team were heroes.
"The lads have gagged him and tied him up before putting a contract
in front of him. I don't know if he will have a change of heart,
but if there is a chance within our financial constraints then
we will try to keep him because he is a fantastic player. We turned
down good money in January because we wanted to win promotion.
His goals have proved that was the right decision."
Grayson explained the thinking behind handing Beckford the captaincy.
He said: "My objective was to give him added responsibility and
I thought he responded. I looked around and thought 'why not Jermaine?'
He is one of the senior pros and I knew he would be back in the
team. I thought that extra responsibility might give him an extra
spring in his step. I thought it worked. I noticed as he led out
the team that he was very vocal. That is not his usual manner."
Grayson added: "I think getting out of League One for Leeds United
will prove to have been harder than getting out of the Championship.
We are a big scalp in this division. I know the Championship is
a difficult division and there are some really big teams in there
but it doesn't frighten me. I won't say 'we will be promoted next
year' but I am an ambitious manager and want to get this club
in the Premier League.
"We will have a good go. It is a challenge we will embrace. We
will have a good couple of days and the chairman has organised
a trip for the players and staff. Now it is in the press, we can
hold him to that promise. We are not sure where we are going -
Filey or Bridlington, probably!
"It has been a long season for everyone connected with the club.
The players will disappear for seven or eight weeks and I will
get a holiday at some stage, but come Monday and Tuesday, I will
be planning for next year."
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