Date:Monday December 20 2010
Simon Grayson will celebrate two years in charge at Elland Road on the 23rd December and he`s loving every minute of it.
Ken Bates prized the life long Leeds fan away from Championship side Blackpool and the move seems to be working out as one of the best things the Chairman has done since arriving at the club.
Grayson was speaking on the Football League Show ahead of Saturday`s game against Queens Park Rangers and he said of his time so far at Elland Road, " Being a Leeds fan I suppose I knew what it was all about. When your in the hot seat on a daily basis you do realise what it really means to people and I`m loving every minute of it.
"There`s a lot of pressure on you but that`s what you come into the industry for. I am at a football club that I love being at and hopefully I`ll be here for many more years to come."
When Grayson took over in 2008, the side had just slumped to their fifth straight defeat under then boss Gary McAllister and were in mid table in League One, they had also suffered the embarrassment of a FA Cup second round loss at non-league Histon Town.
Grayson`s first game in charge was ironically against Leicester City on Boxing Day who the side face on the same day this season.
There was already a fighting spirit shown from the player that had been missing in recent months, when Robert Snodgrass scored an equaliser for Leeds deep into stoppage time.
The team started to click and a remarkable end to the season saw them finish just five points from an automatic promotion spot in fourth place, they lost just one of their last fifteen league games and that was a 93rd minute winner at champions Leicester City.
The play offs proved one step to far and the side bowed out at the semi final stage 2-1 to Millwall on aggregate but the foundations had already been put in place for the following season.
Leeds set of in fantastic fashion in 2008/09 and led the table by twelve points going into the New Year.
Despite suffering a dip in form that saw them drop out of the automatic promotion places in April, Grayson gathered his troops to win five of their last seven games, including a nail biting last day win over Bristol Rovers to claim promotion in second place.
Also during the season, Leeds enjoyed good cup runs, they were unlucky to lose 1-0 to Liverpool in the Carling Cup and went out on penalties in the Johnstone`s Paint Northern area final to Carlisle.
However the highlight of the season was the never to be forgotten FA Cup run.
Leeds were drawn at old enemies Manchester United in the third round. Leeds hadn`t won at Old Trafford since 1981 and with them fielding quite a strong side Leeds were probably not expecting much to change on that cold Sunday lunchtme in Manchester.
What was to follow rocked the world of football as Leeds came and went and booked their place in the fourth round, thanks to a solitary Jermaine Beckford goal at the Stretford end, to send the 9,000 travelling Leeds fans wild.
In the fourth round another high flying Premiership side was on the agenda for Grayson and his players. Once again they produced the result of the round when two Jermaine Beckford goals earned Leeds a draw and a replay at Elland Road.
Unfortunately that was where the dream ended as a Jermaine Defoe hat-trick booked Spurs a place in the fifth round with a 3-1 win.
Leeds started life back in the Championship for the first time since 2007 at the start of this season and despite losing their opening day fixture they enjoyed a steady start to the season that saw them in the play off places at the end of September.
The Leeds side then suffered a number of injuries and with upto ten players on the sidelines during October the clubs form dipped that culminated in a 4-0 home defeat by Cardiff City.
Grayson once again showed his qualities and since that defeat his side have won six and drawn three of their following nine games.
The spirit he has built in his team can be summed up in their last two league games, they turned around a 2-0 half time deficit at Burnley to come away with all three points with a 3-2 victory and they produced their best performance of the season on Saturday to beat league leaders Queens Park Rangers 2-0.
Leeds are now second in the table just three points behind Rangers and despite Grayson playing down the clubs chances of promotion this season you can`t help but think that under his excellent stewardship the good times of the Premier League are not far away.
Since his arrival his side have broken two long-standing club records that were set during the glory days of the Revie era.
They now hold the club record for fifteen straight league home wins, beating the previous best of thirteen set by the Revie side of 1968/69.
They also won their first eight games of the 2009/10 season in all competitions beating another record that was set by the great Revie side in 1973.
Grayson has a great win ratio since his arrival at Elland Road, his side have played 111 games since his arrival in all competitions, winning 62, drawing 23 and losing 26 with a win ratio of 55.86.
Although at a lower level, this is a better win ratio than the Leeds most successful managers over the last fourty years, Don Revie had a win ratio of 52.2% and Howard Wilkinson 43.25%.
I said the same at this stage last season; I just wonder where we will be in twelve months time? Thanks for two great years and here`s to many more.
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Date:Monday December 20 2010
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