Frank Gray

Last updated : 11 August 2006 By Bio Man
Frank Gray (born October 27, 1954 in Castlemilk, Scotland) was one of the new generation of Leeds United players of the mid-1970s charged with the task of maintaining the club's success after the Don Revie era.

He is currently manager of Conference side Grays Athletic. Gray, younger brother of Eddie, joined the club under Revie as a 17 year old and made his debut in 1973, scoring a goal in his first start.

Revie had lost regular left back Terry Cooper to an horrific broken leg the year before and needed to find replacements, and Gray was given his chance as a result.

He didn't stay in the side, with a reshuffled defence allowing Trevor Cherry to take the left back spot for the business end of the season which consisted of two Cup finals (the FA Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup) both of which Leeds lost.

Revie did, however, invite Gray to travel with the squad to Wembley and he sat next to his manager during the defeat to Sunderland.

Gray was similarly spared regular football in the first team at such an early age the following year, with Cherry settled into the left back role.

Leeds won the League championship thanks to an unbeaten start to the season of 29 games.

Gray only played three times and didn't qualify for a medal. He got his chance the following season though, making 18 appearances in the League and usurping Cherry for the No.3 shirt in the European Cup final in Paris, which Leeds lost 2-0 to Bayern Munich.

As the Revie team disbanded due to age - Revie himself had quit for the England manager's job the year before - Gray found himself tagged as one of the bright young things who would maintain the work of the previous team, alongside the likes of Gordon McQueen and Joe Jordan.

It never quite worked like that, with Leeds diving into comparative mediocrity for the rest of the 1970s.

Gray did make his debut for Scotland in a 1-0 win over Switzerland in 1976, and won more caps in late 1978, having missed out on a place in the squad for that summer's World Cup in Argentina.

He left Leeds in 1979 for 500,000 pounds and joined Nottingham Forest, whose manager Brian Clough had been clearly impressed with what he'd seen of the defender during his infamous 44-day spell in charge at Leeds four years earlier.

Gray slotted into the team and played in his second European Cup final in 1980, making him the first player to appear in the final for two different English clubs.

This time he was successful as Forest won 1-0 against a useful Hamburg SV side which included Kevin Keegan. Gray also finished on the losing side earlier in the season when Forest were beaten in the League Cup final by Wolves, thanks to a single goal from unrelated fellow Scotsman Andy Gray.

Despite his success, Gray never fully settled at Forest and accepted an invitation in 1981 to return to Leeds by former team-mate Allan Clarke, who was now manager.

It was a cut-price 300,000 deal which got Gray back into Elland Road, but in the first season of his return Leeds were relegated.

The heartbreak at club level for Gray was tempered mildly by his inclusion in Scotland's World Cup squad for the 1982 tournament in Spain, and he played in all three of the group games against New Zealand, Brazil and the USSR, though Scotland didn't progress further.

Clarke was fired from Leeds after the drop and Gray's brother Eddie took over. The younger Gray played for four years under his brother's stewardship but Leeds couldn't regain promotion and Gray left for Sunderland in 1985, this time never to return.

His tally for Leeds stood up at 396 appearances and 35 goals. After four years at Sunderland, Gray was appointed manager of Darlington in June 1991 after Brian Little moved to Leicester City.

He quit a year later after Darlington slid back into the league's basement division, and he also hung up his boots for the final time at this tage. His international career had ended in 1983 after 32 appearances and one goal.

In recent years, Gray became an academy coach at Southampton and then an agent, before returning to management.

He managed Farnborough Town in 2005-06, and was appointed manager of Grays Athletic in June 2006, following the resignation of Mark Stimson.

His son Andrew Gray, a striker, came through the ranks at Leeds and later played for Nottingham Forest, Bradford City, and Sheffield United and now plays for Burnley.