Yes, there is life after the sack, Mr Moyes!
place in the talented side of the early 1980s.
But he bounced back, spending four years at Barnsley before joining Graham Taylor’s emerging Aston Villa where – as a left-sided utility player – he won promotion from Division Two, a runner’s up medal in the top flight and experienced European football.
“A tremendous professional,” said Taylor, who would later take Gray on as a coach at Aston Villa. “He was the captain of that side and vital to its success. There wasn’t a player in the game more dedicated to his profession that Stuart.”
And when a ruptured Achilles injury ended his career at the age of 31 in 1991, Gray stayed at Southampton to take that dedication into coaching.
He started as community officer, moved on to coaching schoolboys and trainees, and then took on the job as reserve team coach. By 1998 he was first-team coach and by 2001 one of Hoddle’s most trusted lieutenants.
Though his final promotion ended badly, Gray’s reputation as a coach was undimmed and in subsequent years he would assist John Gregory at Aston Villa, Dave Jones at Wolves – where he won promotion to the Premier League – Brian Laws at Burnley and Steve Cotterill at Portsmouth.
When he rejoined Jones at Sheffield Wednesday, it was just another job. It has turned into the rejuvenation of a managerial career.
“I’m really pleased for Stuart,” said Giles Coke, the Wednesday mid-fielder. “I worked with him at Northampton when I was 21 and I’m in no doubt that he made me a better player. I learned so much.
“Now everyone is seeing what a good coach he is. He gives players confidence and that is a great trait.”