Yes, there is life af­ter the sack, Mr Moyes!

The Football League Paper - - STUART GRAY -

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.”

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