NEW Bradford City manager Simon Grayson believes the key to a good relationship with club owners is an open dialogue and mutual trust.
The 48-year-old has signed a short-term deal until the end of the season at Valley Parade.
A six-game losing run brought the end to Stuart McCall’s reign, but it is also understood that the former Scotland international had an uneasy relationship with joint chairman Edin Rahic.
Disagreements over team selection, transfers and even who took penalties caused a rift between the pair, but Grayson insists he has no such worries after agreeing to take charge.
“I have worked with Ken Bates, I have worked with Karl Oyston and I have worked with Peter Ridsdale,” said the new Bantams chief. “I have worked with enough owners to know the one thing you have to do is have a relationship and trust each other.
“That is what we are going to do (here). Every owner is entitled to an opinion because they put the money in. If they respect what you are saying back to them then fine. You have to have a working relationship together.
“Ken Bates, Karl Oyston, Dean Hoyle have all had opinions on stuff (when Grayson was manager) and I respect what they had to say. Hopefully they respected what I said back. It is about having equal respect for each other.
“I have found Edin very good so far. He has been very positive and I cannot speak highly enough of how the owners have been. Everything I have wanted to do in terms of the staff I have wanted to bring in, he has never questioned anything.”
Bradford owners Rahic and Stefan Rupp had been keen to tie down Grayson to a long-term deal.
Having turned down several recent job offers from elsewhere, however, the former Huddersfield Town and Leeds United manager was keen to stick to a contract that runs until only the summer.
Such a relaxed approach is, of course, a risk as Grayson does not have the security that comes with a longer agreement. He does, though, want to make it clear that he envisages being in charge next season and beyond at Bradford.
“The owners were desperate to give me a longer-term contract,” he added. “But I just felt where I am in terms of my management career I need to take the right option for me.
“I plan to be here for the long term. But maybe it is a case of ‘suck it and see’ how things go. I want to assess how things can work and work out where we want to be.
“I suppose it is a risk. But, again, I have never been in management for the financial aspect of it all. Instead, it has always been about wanting to be as good as possible at what I am doing in terms of the job.
“This agreement is a no-brainer for both of us. If I turn out to have a bad time Bradford might not want to offer me a contract or if I do really well I am in a strong position and the club will want to keep me.
“People make a lot about the contract situation, but they don’t mean a lot anyway. I had a three-year deal at Sunderland, but left after just four months. It is not an issue for both parties.”
Rahic opted not to attend Grayson’s first press conference in Bradford’s 1911 Club due to wanting the spotlight to be on the new appointment.
Instead he spent the afternoon a few doors down the main corridor in City’s main stand, only popping out of his office briefly when Grayson was being photographed with the scarf held customarily aloft.
His relationship with Grayson and head of recruitment Greg Abbott will be key going forward at Valley Parade under the more continental set-up that the German owners have brought in since buying the club during the summer of 2016.
These changes caused friction with McCall, as Rahic admitted to The Yorkshire Post in the immediate aftermath of the Bantams booking their place at the League One play-off final.
“English football culture is different,” he said last May. “As an owner, CO and head of football, so to speak, I have another type of attitude to work to the manager (McCall). It is difficult for Stuart to understand. I am head of football. I will comment if we concede a goal because I know about football. You have to take me seriously.”
Grayson, however, insists he is used to City’s management structure. “People will pick up on little things like me being manager and not head coach,” he added. “But I coach as well as manage. I do a lot of work on the training pitch.
“Titles make no difference. Ultimately you have an owner who has opinions. Then there is a head of recruitment and chief scout who you value the opinion of and then the manager works with them.
“You have these three things at all clubs. It is only called a European model because there is a European owner here. This model has been going for years. Clubs have had owners, chief scout and managers for as long as I can remember. People try to make it bigger than it should be.”