Michael Gray says Peter Reid would ‘jump at chance’ of Sunderland return

Former Sunderland defender Michael Gray (left) is backing ex-manager Peter Reid to take the reins at SAFC again.
Former Sunderland defender Michael Gray (left) is backing ex-manager Peter Reid to take the reins at SAFC again.

Peter Reid would ‘jump at the opportunity’ to replace Simon Grayson as Sunderland manager.

That’s the view of former Black Cat Michael Gray after Grayson was dismissed after just four months in the Stadium of Light hotseat.

A 3-3 draw last night against fellow Championship strugglers Bolton Wanderers left Sunderland in the bottom three with just one win from their opening 15 league games.

Gray, who played under Reid during his seven-year spell as manager from 1995 to 2002, says his old manager is the last person to get it right on Wearside, and believes he could be interested in a sensational return.

Gray said: “Who would want to take it? That’s the question you have got to ask.

“We have had experienced managers, we have had managers with great Premier League experience.

“The last person to get it right was probably Peter Reid.

“Whether Peter wants another opportunity and a crack at the Sunderland job, it’s a question you would have to ask him.

“But I’m sure he would absolutely jump at the opportunity.

“It needs someone who knows the club, who knows how to get the best out of players - and the players he’s got at his disposal right now simply aren’t good enough.

“January can’t come quick enough and hopefully the chairman puts his hand in his pocket because the last thing we need is to go down another level.”

Sunderland are mired in a relegation battle and with attendances dropping, and fan unrest, Gray believes the Wearsiders need to appoint someone who knows the club.

Reid hasn’t managed in English football since an ill-fated spell at Plymouth Argyle ended in 2011, but recently returned to the game in an advisory capacity with Wigan Athletic.

The 61-year-old has been installed as one of the early favourites, along with former Sunderland stars Kevin Phillips and Kevin Ball.

With a derby clash against Middlesbrough on Sunday being followed by a two-week international break, chief executive Martin Bain could appoint a caretaker to buy himself some time while he looks for Grayson’s replacement.

Gray added: “Hopefully they are going to have someone in place (quickly) and hopefully that person will turn things around because we can’t keep watching and listening and looking out for results each week and finding out we have drawn or lost.

“People aren’t going to the club any more and it’s an awful place to be right now.

“I hope it’s someone who knows the club, whether it’s someone who is at the club already or someone who has been at the club before.

“The place is a complete mess from top to bottom and it needs sorting.

“They have got to get it right behind the scenes and on the football field on matchdays.

“Who is out there? Who is going to take that risk on a job that looks like a poisoned chalice right now?”