Grayson departs Leeds with a tear in his eye

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SIMON GRAYSON has admitted to shedding a tear at being sacked by Leeds United.

The 42-year-old’s reign at Elland Road came to an end on Wednesday morning, just a few hours after his side had crashed to a 4-1 defeat at home to Birmingham City.

Grayson, a boyhood Leeds fan who made his Football League debut for the club, said: “At the moment, it is difficult to make a full statement as legalities haven’t been formalised.

“But, I didn’t want to wait to express my thanks to the Leeds fans who have been magnificent throughout my time at the club.

“Everyone knows how I feel about the club, there have been so many great moments throughout the three years I was the manager, I hope you realise what it meant to me to have been the manager of Leeds United.

“I had a tear in my eye when I left the club 20 years ago (when released as a player) and I had a tear in my eye again yesterday. The only difference was I went with one bin liner of stuff 20 years ago, this time it was three.

“I would like to thank all the players who have played within my three years. Also, my thanks goes to all my staff who have been helpful during my period in charge.

“I wish the supporters all the best for the future and maybe one day I may get the chance to come back to this great football club.”

With Leeds’ search for a successor to Grayson not due to be stepped up until after the weekend, the focus returns to the pitch today and the trip to Bristol City.

United need a lift after a difficult week on and off the pitch, as captain Andy Lonergan admits.

He said: “Tuesday (against Birmingham) was a harsh lesson. To lose by four was awful, disgusting. It was just shocking defending (against Birmingham). I don’t mean just the defence, I mean the whole team.

“The mood was down in the dressing room, as you would expect.

“But we will get ourselves up for Saturday. There were positives and we created a lot more chances than we have been doing.

“When we are at home, we understand we have to play better. It is what is killing us right now.

“Away from home, we are a bit more solid so hopefully we can go to Bristol City and get a result.

“The division is still very tight. It would have been great to beat Birmingham and keep our little run going.”