Simon Grayson: I left previous clubs in a better shape and I want to do the same at Sunderland
Simon Grayson wants to leave a legacy at Sunderland, just as he did at his four previous clubs.
Grayson lifted Blackpool, Leeds United, Huddersfield and Preston North End out of League One, with the Tangerines and the Terriers both subsequently winning promotion to the Premier League in the subsequent years.
The Sunderland boss over achieved with Preston last season, at one stage pushing for an unlikely play-off spot, and left behind a talented group of young players.
The 47-year-old is targeting promotion with Sunderland and hopes to leave the club in a better state than when he arrived.
He said: “I think any manager, when you walk into the club, you want to try and leave a legacy.
“The other week when Huddersfield got promoted, Dean Hoyle [Chairman] mentioned me straight after, because I’d got them promoted and left the foundations, which was nice.
“Hopefully, I’ll leave it in a better place than when I walked in.”
Grayson faces a difficult task in taking the Black Cats back into the Premier League, particularly given the summer spending by sides in the second tier.
Sunderland’s high debt levels mean the club has a limited budget and a need to trim the wage bill as TV income drops, and Grayson’s reputation as a manager who can punch above his team’s weight appealed to the Black Cats.
Grayson himself has been optimistic, pointing out that it will still be the biggest budget he has ever worked with, and he remains confident that he can reach the club’s ambitious but ‘realistic’ expectations.
He said: “I like a job with a realistic challenge, sometimes you go into a club where the aims are miles ahead of their realistic capabilities.
“It isn’t like that here, there’s challenges but it is one that we should be able to embrace.
“You want to be able to look back in a year, two years or three years and say I took over a club that was struggling at the time and make it successful again.
“That would give me a huge amount of satisfaction, as has been the case with the previous four clubs I’ve worked for.
“Ultimately, if there’s no expectation then there’s something wrong with the club that you’re at.
“Every club should have expectations, other people at other clubs may think it is unrealistic but you have to aim high.”