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John Charles Gregory (born 11 May 1954 in Scunthorpemarker) is an Englishmarker former footballer and manager. He has previously managed Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Wycombe Wanderers, Aston Villa, Derby County and Queens Park Rangers. As a player, he was a versatile midfielder who started his career at Northampton Town and later played for Brighton & Hove Albion, QPR, Derby and Aston Villa. He won six caps for England.

Playing career

Northampton Town

Gregory made his professional football debut in 1972 at the age of 18 when playing for Northampton Town. He scored eight goals in 187 games over the next five years before being transferred to First Division Aston Villa in 1977.

Aston Villa

Gregory was a considerable success at Aston Villa. Despite playing two divisions higher than he had ever done before, he adapted well to First Division football and scored 10 goals in 65 games over the next two seasons. During his time at Villa, Gregory became the only player to play in every outfield position, wearing every number from 2 to 11 over his two seasons with the club, which remains a record.

Brighton & Hove Albion

In 1979, Gregory signed for Brighton & Hove Albion, who had just won promotion to the First Division for the first time in their history. He scored seven goals in 72 games over the next two seasons before dropping down into the Second Division to sign for Queen's Park Rangers.

Queen's Park Rangers

He was part of the QPR side that reached the FA Cup final in 1982 (losing to Tottenham Hotspur in a replay) and won promotion to the First Division a year later as Second Division champions. He also helped QPR finish fifth and qualify for the UEFA Cup in 1984, but 1984-85 was a tough season for Gregory and his colleagues after manager Terry Venables departed to FC Barcelona and successor Frank Sibley was unable to keep up QPR's good form. At the end of a difficult season in which QPR only narrowly stayed in the First Division, Gregory dropped down two divisions to sign for fallen giants Derby County.

Derby County

Derby County, champions of England in 1972 and 1975, had fallen into the Third Division in 1984 and had failed to win promotion in 1984-85. Gregory was the centerpiece of their midfield as they achieved promotion to the Second Division at the end of the 1985-86 season and to the First Division (as Second Division champions) a year later. Gregory stayed for one season as Derby County survived their first top flight season for nearly a decade, before announcing his retirement as a player.

Plymouth Argyle and Bolton Wanderers

When taking over as manager of Plymouth Argyle early in 1990, Gregory re-registered himself as a player and appeared three times for them in the Second Division. On departing from the Home Parkmarker club, he moved 300 miles north to play for Third Division Bolton Wanderers, making seven appearances before finally retiring as a player at the age of 36.

Managerial career

Early management Jobs

His first two spells in management (between January 1989 and June 1990), first with Portsmouth and then with Plymouth Argyle, lasted just a few months each. Shortly afterwards, he linked up as a non-contract player with his former England team-mate Phil Neal, who was then manager at Bolton Wanderers.

He later worked under Brian Little on the coaching staff at Leicester City (1991-1994) and Aston Villa (1994-96) before moving back into management with Wycombe Wanderers in September 1996.

Wycombe Wanderers

Wycombe were bottom of Division Two when Gregory took over, but he oversaw a massive improvement in league form which saw the club climb up to a secure mid-table finish. However, the side he put together failed to progress any further, and they also suffered an embarrassing FA Cup exit to Basingstoke Town.

Aston Villa

Wycombe were performing well in February 1998 when Gregory quit to take the manager's job back at Aston Villa. He helped improve Villa's league form during the final 3 months of the 1997-98 season and they qualified for the UEFA Cup.

Halfway through the 1998-99 season Villa were Premiership leaders but a slump in form saw the club eventually finish sixth in the final table and miss out on a European place.

Villa reached the FA Cup final in 2000 but lost to Chelsea. Gregory finally quit in January 2002, with Villa going on to finish eighth that season.

Gregory's spell at Villa is also notable as he became the last manager to field an all English starting 11 in the Premiership, until Steve McClaren's Middlesbrough did the same against Fulham on May 7, 2006.

Derby County

Gregory's next spell in management was with Derby County (January 2002 - March 2003).

When he took charge at Derby they were bottom of the Premiership, but after winning both of his first two games at the helm it looked as though he might be able to save them from relegation. Unfortunately, seven defeats from their final eight fixtures saw Derby slip out of the Premiership after six years. The club's financial problems meant that Gregory hadn't purchased any players during the 2002-03 season, and their subsequent form in Division One was disappointing.

He was sacked in March 2003 for alleged misconduct but later won £1 million in compensation for unfair dismissal. Due to the ongoing lawsuit, Gregory was unable to apply for another managerial position for some time, so he spent most of the next three years working as a television pundit.

Queens Park Rangers

On 20 September 2006 he was unveiled as manager of Queens Park Rangers. He replaced Gary Waddock, who had stepped down following a poor succession of results that had left the club bottom of the Football League Championship. This appointment caused a schism among QPR fans, some of whom saw Gregory's friendship with controversial chairman Gianni Paladini as a conflict of interest. After a decent start with successive victories over Hull City and Southampton, Rangers form dipped before winning three on the bounce (including a victory at (then) league leaders Cardiff City). Unfortunately, results did not continue to improve, and relegation looked a distinct possibility for Gregory's men. However, following a fine late season run, QPR beat Cardiff 1–0 at Loftus Road on 21 April 2007 to secure their Championship status for another year.

Gregory was sacked as QPR manager on 1 October after another string of poor performances.

Rugby Administration

He now works in rugby union administration and has responsibility for Hertfordshire/Middlesex division 1

Career statistics

Managerial stats


External links

1972-73 Northampton Town Fourth Division 9 0
1973-74 46 0
1974-75 41 1
1975-76 45 3
1976-77 Third Division 46 4
1977-78 Aston Villa First Division 26 3
1978-79 39 7
1979-80 Brighton & Hove Albion First Division 33 0
1980-81 39 7
1981-82 Queens Park Rangers Second Division 34 9
1982-83 42 15
1983-84 First Division 37 7
1984-85 37 5
1985-86 11 0
1985-86 Derby County Third Division 22 4
1986-87 Second Division 42 12
1987-88 First Division 39 6
1988-89 Portsmouth Second Division 0 0
1989-90 0 0
1989-90 Plymouth Argyle Second Division 3 0
1989-90 Bolton Wanderers Third Division 7 0
P W D L GF GA Win %
January 17, 1989
January 3, 1990

Plymouth Argyle (caretaker)
February 6, 1990
July 31, 1990

Wycombe Wanderers
October 22, 1996
February 25, 1998

Aston Villa
February 25, 1998
January 24, 2002

Derby County
January 30, 2002
March 21, 2003

Queens Park Rangers
September 20, 2006
October 1, 2007


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