Simon Grayson: Preston’s Saving Grace
Preston North End manager Simon Grayson has had a great three years at the club.
However, the Yorkshireman had other ideas and he has excelled beyond the club’s wildest dreams.
The 46-year-old helped the Lilywhites achieve a mid-table finish in his first season, finishing 11 points clear from relegation.
In his second season as manager, Grayson recorded a League Cup victory over arch-rivals Blackpool, with a 1–0 win at Deepdale — a night which will be remembered by Preston fans for many years to come.
But the season would finish in disappointment. Preston just missed out on promotion to the Championship, losing in the play-off semi-final to Rotherham. This was Preston’s ninth successive play-off defeat.
But on the 24th May 2015, he guided Preston to a play-off final victory — their first play-off success in 10 attempts. A hat-trick from Jermaine Beckford and a goal from Paul Huntington helped North End beat Swindon Town 4–0 at Wembley, earning Grayson his fourth promotion as a manager.
After helping Preston return to the Championship following a four-year absence, Grayson has gone from strength to strength at the helm.
He has made Deepdale a fortress, losing just one game at home since November 2015 and recording wins over promotion-chasing Sheffield Wednesday and Hull City. Preston also recorded a 2–0 away victory against rivals Burnley in December.
Preston have also set a new club record this season, going six games without conceding a goal in the league.
Simon Grayson’s managerial record in this time at Preston has been phenomenal — achieving a win percentage of 47.13% in all competitions — the second highest in the club’s history.
“The future is really bright under Grayson.”
Lifelong Preston fan, Damon Moulding, says that Grayson has got the fans believing again and he’s the right manager to take Preston forward.
“I think he has done an amazing job. He has taken us from a bottom-half League 1 side, to a top-half Championship team in three years.
“After the tough period under Graham Westley, he has got the fans back supporting and believing the club and he couldn’t have done a better job in such a short period of time.”
Mr Moulding believes that Grayson has changed many things to get the fans back on side.
“He’s got Preston winning games again — that’s the vital reason why.
“His style of football in League 1 was remarkable. We were winning games every week and he’s attracted big name players like Paul Gallagher, Joe Garner and Jermaine Beckford.
“There’s a really good feel factor around Deepdale at the moment and I can only see us progressing further. The future is really bright under Grayson.”