By Caroline King

After years of experience as a Premier League player at Leicester City, Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers, in 2005 Simon Grayson took the opportunity to dive into management.

His first job was at Blackpool FC and through his leadership the team secured promotion to the Championship. Now, 11 years later, he has returned to Bloomfield Road with one immediate goal – to lead his side into the second tier once again.

During UCFB’s exclusive interview with Grayson as part of his Executive Guest Speaker talk, he gave students invaluable advice on how to succeed in management. The former Leeds United boss explained how having so much experience as a player gave him insight into the game that has helped shape him into the manager he is today.

“What I’d try to do when I went in to management was to learn from the managers that I’d worked for when I was playing, the good points and the bad points,” he said. “I’d try to take their advice on, what made the players tick tactically, what they were very good at and also the negative points where managers have treated players in a manner that I wouldn’t want to be treated myself.”

However, in addition to experience, the former Sunderland man emphasised that it’s important to continuously learn, develop and perfect your trade with formal education as well.

Grayson said: “We’re all learning, I’m still educating myself and I’ve got 650 games under my belt! So to go onto the [coaching] courses and days like today, doing the Q&A in front of students, is good because it develops us and keeps us on our toes.”

However, no matter how much preparation, experience or education has gone into your craft, it’s normal to be faced with moments of adversity, especially in the fickle world of football management.

Grayson explains: “In this modern day if you lose games, you lose your job. You’ve just got to make sure you re-evaluate yourself, analyse yourself, speak to people who have been working alongside you to give you a bit of advice and rediscover yourself in what you need to be better in future.”