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Edwin "Eddie" Gray (born 17 January 1948 in Glasgowmarker, Scotlandmarker) was a cultured winger who was an integral member of the legendary Leeds United football team of the 1960s and 1970s, later twice becoming the club's manager.Eddie is currently working on Yorkshire Radio alongside Thom Kirwin for Full match commentary on DAB Digital across Yorkshire, 104.7 Minster Fm and LUTV.

Playing Career

Gray was a schoolboy international for Scotland, he had aspirations of signing for his boyhood team Glasgow Celtic, but signed professional forms for Leeds at the age of 16. He made his first team debut on New Year's Day 1966, less than three weeks before his 18th birthday, and would go on to play for the club for almost 20 years.

A winger in the classic mould, Gray was feted in world football for his ability to beat opposing full backs for pace and thought. As the Leeds team grew in stature and experience through the 1960s, Gray became a vital component of the team.

In 1968 he was in the Leeds team which won the League Cup and the Fairs Cup and then the League championship a year later. It was in 1970 that he made his most famous appearance in a Leeds shirt.

The team was chasing a unique "treble" of League championship, FA Cup and European Cup with Gray in sparkling form. He had already scored what many Leeds fans call the greatest goal ever by a Leeds player - a solo run past several Burnley players which involved flicks and backheels as he somehow got from the byline to a shooting position - when his day came at Wembleymarker for the FA Cup final against Chelsea.

Gray's marking full back was David Webb, a steady but undistinguished defender whom, for the 90 minutes and extra-time period, Gray would duly torment. Webb was, time and again, left on his backside or looking the wrong way as Gray ghosted past him on countless occasions. The game still ended 2-2 and a replay was required - Gray had taken the corner which had allowed Jack Charlton to open the scoring. In the replay, Chelsea changed tactics and put the more uncompromising Ron Harris on to Gray and as a result, Gray's danger was snuffed out. Chelsea won 2-1 and, in a final twist, it was Webb who scored the winner. Leeds lost the League championship race to Everton and the European Cup semi final to Celtic, thereby ended with nothing.

Gray's frequent battles with injury started, and he missed more than half of the 1971 season, during which Leeds again snatched League championship defeat from the jaws of victory but won the Fairs Cup again. He was in the team which won the FA Cup against Arsenal in 1972 and duly lost it a year later to Sunderland, but missed out on a title medal when Leeds finally won the League again in 1974 thanks to more injury woes. These had become so frequent that when Brian Clough succeeded Don Revie at Leeds United, he began his first team meeting by stating that if Eddie Gray had been a horse, he would have been shot long ago.

Gray played in the team which reached the European Cup final in Parismarker in 1975 but lost, controversially, to Bayern Munich. Also in the team was his younger brother Frank, who had likewise come through the ranks at Elland Road. This was the swansong of the great Don Revie team (Revie himself had left a year earlier to take over as England manager) and Gray's team-mates started to leave the club. By the end of the 1970s, Gray was the only player from any part of the Revie era still at the club (although Peter Lorimer and David Harvey would later make comebacks). Converted to left back, Gray prolonged his career and was in the side which was relegated under former team-mate Allan Clarke in 1982.

Gray's unfortunate injury record meant that his Scotland career was short and infrequent. He won just 12 caps and missed the 1974 World Cup through injury. In an era of hard men - Bremner, Harris, Smith, etc, Gray also had the distinction of never being booked in his career.

Management

Gray then took over as player-manager at Leeds in 1982, following their relegation from the First Division. The club had to turn to a youth policy to rebuild the team, with the emergence of players like John Sheridan, Neil Aspin, Dennis Irwin and Scott Sellars. After top half finishes in his first two seasons in charge, the 1984-85 season saw a push for promotion that was lost on the final day at Birmingham City. Following failure to gain promotion from the Second Division, Gray ended association with Leeds after 20 years, 561 games and 68 goals.

He would later manage Whitby Town. In 1986, Gray took over at Rochdale and in the 1986-87 season the club managed an escape from near-certain relegation from the Football League.

Gray took over at Hull City for season 1988-89, following the departure of Brian Horton the previous season. Hull managed to pull into mid-table and only five points short of the play-offs in February, and they reached the FA Cup 5th round where they lost to Liverpool. Only 1 win in the last 18 games meant that Hull finished fourth from yet clear of relegation danger, but the poor form led to his departure.

Return to Leeds

Gray continued his long standing association with Leeds United by joining the club as a Youth Team coach. His work with the youth set-up nurtured a terrific generation of Leeds players such as Harry Kewell, Ian Harte, Alan Smith and Jonathan Woodgate, who all went on to become first-team regulars. In 1997, Gray was promoted to Reserve Team Manager and the following year was made new manager David O'Leary's assistant.

To the aggravation of Leeds supporters, Gray was forced to take a back step when Brian Kidd was promoted from Academy Manager to Head Coach and was given all coaching responsibilities. The fans made their support known for Gray through banners at matches, whilst at the same time verbally abusing Kidd. Both Gray and Kidd were relieved of their duties in 2003 when new manager Peter Reid took the reins.

When Reid left Leeds in 2003, Gray was charged with the task of trying to preserve their FA Premier League status, something which, under immense pressure, he could not do. Gray parted company once again with the club after relegation. Gray was given a one-year football consultancy role at the club before joining BBC Radio Leeds as a matchday analyst. In 2008, the BBC lost their rights to the live radio broadcast of Leeds matches; as a result, Gray left BBC Radio Leeds and moved to the club's official radio station, Yorkshire Radio, for whom he still analyses on a matchday.

Career statistics



References

External links



1965-66 Leeds United First Division 4 1 - - 2 0 6 1
1966-67 29 4 4 0 1 0 6 0 40 4
1967-68 32 6 3 0 7 1 8 2 50 9
1968-69 33 5 2 0 2 0 6 0 43 5
1969-70 30 9 7 0 2 0 5 0 44 9
1970-71 18 1 - 1 0 5 3 24 4
1971-72 26 6 6 0 1 0 - 33 6
1972-73 17 1 3 0 3 0 2 0 25 1
1973-74 8 0 - - 1 0 9 0
1974-75 12 1 6 1 - 3 0 21 2
1975-76 29 1 1 0 2 0 - 32 1
1976-77 37 5 5 1 - - 42 6
1977-78 27 5 - 4 2 - 31 7
1978-79 28 4 1 2 7 3 - 36 9
1979-80 30 2 1 0 - 3 0 34 2
1980-81 38 0 2 0 - - 40 0
1981-82 31 1 2 1 2 0 - 35 2
1982-83 Second Division 21 0 4 0 3 0 - 28 0
1983-84 4 0 - - - 4 0
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