Mick McCarthy’s fears for Simon Grayson and relives his time at Sunderland

Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy
Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy

Former Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy says he knows what Simon Grayson is going through – but admits he doesn’t know if his friend will be able to turn the club around.

McCarthy comes up against his old club tonight when Sunderland travel to Ipswich Town.

McCarthy as Sunderland boss

McCarthy as Sunderland boss

McCarthy says Grayson has inherited a tough situation with the club’s cilture of losing hampering his chances of success.

But while he hopes his counterpart can reverse their fortunes, he is still going all out to increase Grayson’s misery.

“I get what Simon is going through,” McCarthy said. “It’s tough but you have to get a foothold somewhere and they will be looking for that here.

“I wish Simon well. I’m not going to give any quarter and I’m not asking for one from him. But I do wish him well. I think he’s one of the good football guys.

“Simon got the job on the back of how well he did at Preston. He’s had to go into a club used to losing and spiralling down, and it’s tough.

“Will he turn it around? I hope so. I haven’t been watching them and I’ve got my own problems so I don’t know whether he will or won’t. But I hope he does.”

McCarthy knows about struggling at the Stadium of Light. He succeeded Howard Wilkinson in 2003, but was unable to stop the club from sliding out of the top flight, losing all of his nine games in charge.

He started off life in the Championship with two league defeats, only to turn the club around and reach the play-offs were they were beaten on penalties by Crystal Palace, while also just missing out on the FA Cup Final after a semi-final loss against Millwall.

However, McCarthy the Black Cats back into the Premier League at the second time of asking, winning the Championship in 2005 with 94 points.

Despite his reign ending the following season, when Sunderland went down with a paltry 15 points, McCarthy says he thoroughly enjoyed his time on Wearside.

“I’ve nothing but fond memories and loved it from start to finish,” he said.

“I lost my first 11 (league) games there, nine in the Premier League. They were bonkers to think I could keep them up and I was bonkers to think I could.

“But after that we finished third and got to a semi-final, and then won the Championship.

“I loved my time there. I had thre very happy years. The whole experience at the Stadium of Light was fab, the big crowds and getting into the Premier League.”