Sunderland job is too big to turn down, says Simon Grayson

Simon Grayson
Simon Grayson

Simon Grayson says the Sunderland job was too big an opportunity to turn down - once he’d been given assurances from Ellis Short and Martin Bain.

The 47-year-old sought assurances from the club’s hierarchy over transfers, ownership issues and the scope he’d have to help shape the club before agreeing to take charge at the Stadium of Light.

Owner Short had been heavily involved in takeover talks with a German consortium before they collapsed and Sunderland made their move for the former Preston North End boss.

And Grayson admits the chance to take charge at Sunderland was one he simply couldn’t turn down.

“I was at Preston for four and a half years and I’ve had opportunities to leave numerous times but I was loyal to them and wanted to achieve things,” Grayson said.

“When Sunderland came knocking it was too good an opportunity.

“If I didn’t get reassurances, I wouldn’t have come here.

“We’d started something at Preston but the size and stature was too good an opportunity to turn down.”

Ripon-born Grayson revealed the club has a “realistic” budget ahead of the Championship campaign, with the new Black Cats boss looking to make early inroads in the transfer market having taken charge on Thursday night.

The former Blackpool, Leeds United and Huddersfield Town chief says the attraction of taking charge at Sunderland was strong given the facilities and the potential the club has.

Sunderland regularly attract home crowds of 40,000 plus, while the state-of-the-art Academy of Light training ground is a key asset.

He hopes the hard work the players put in at the Academy this season will reap rewards on the pitch as he plots a successful campaign.

“It happens in football when relegation happens, but it is still an attractive proposition,” said Grayson.

“The fanbase, the training ground, the potential to still be a very big team in English football.

“I want to get a unity and an affiliation with the supporters, I want them to be proud of the players.

“I want them to go home having seen players who have given everything and to be able to talk about positive performances, or somebody making a saving tackle, putting their body on the line, because this is a proper football club, a working class environment.

“We want to give them something to be cheerful about every Saturday night.”

The Sunderland first team and Under-23 squad is currently in Austria taking part in a training camp ahead of the first pre-season game away at Bury on Friday night.