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“I’m concerned that Sunderland will sign Aiden McGeady!” - PNE fan speaks out on Grayson

After yesterday's confirmation that Simon Grayson has taken over the role of Sunderland manager on a three year deal, we spoke to Gary Bond from Preston North End fanzine Lilywhite Magic about the new boss and what we can expect.

RR: The first question is the perhaps an obvious one - are you sad to be losing Simon Grayson?

GB: I feel a bit indifferent really. Overall, he's done a good job here at North End. He got us back into the Championship and re-established us in this division. However, going by some of the football played, our 'collapse' at the end of last season and the fact we didn't improve on the season before, it does make me think perhaps he wouldn't be able to take us further than where he has done. We also didn’t start last season too well.

RR: He's going to be walking into a very difficult job at Sunderland. What was the morale and the situation like at Preston when he took over, and how did he go about his first few months in the job?

GB: He took over from Graham 'medals' Westley, so it can be fair to say morale was at the lowest it's ever been at the club - I'm not exaggerating either. The way he turned it around and improved the morale is a credit to Simon - he had to clear up a hell of a mess made by Westley.

Ipswich Town v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
"Overall his transfer record hasn't been at all bad, even on a very limited budget"
Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

RR: Grayson will have a huge job on his hands. Jermain Defoe and Jordan Pickford are already gone and plenty of players are out of contract. What is he like in the transfer market - was he able to build a good squad?

GB: It's fair to say he has signed some duds - Eoin Doyle and Andy Little to name two - but overall his transfer record hasn’t been at all bad. He’s had to work on a limited budget and bought well in general.

He's one that likes to have a good balance to the squad - a number of young/youngish players but with a few experienced heads too. Although I don't think he's one to sign up some washed-up 34 year old that's for certain!

RR: The philosophy of a manager is always important. How does he set his team up? Is he attack-minded, or is he all about being solid at the back?

GB: Hmm, it's fair to say Simon is very much a 'safety first' type of manager. He made us very hard to beat and overall we've had a decent defensive record under him. However, with some exceptions last season, we've been largely unspectacular so in my opinion don't expect fast-flowing, attacking football.

RR: He actually has a pretty solid record across every club he's managed, yet wouldn't be most SAFC fans first choice. Is it a case of he's consistent if unspectacular and that’s what keeps him under the radar?

GB: This ties in with my last answer - his type of football is largely 'safety first' so his sides are largely solid but unspectacular.

Although he's got four sides promoted from League One, he really hasn't progressed or achieved much as a Championship manager apart from consolidating teams in that league.

Sunderland v Everton - Premier League
You can bet Aiden McGeady will be linked with us again after a succesful season under Grayson last term.
Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

RR: Are there any players you're worried he could take to the Stadium of Light with him?

GB: Maybe Ben Pearson, who was a young midfielder he took from Manchester United last year, but in all honesty I'm more concerned with him signing Aiden McGeady from Everton.

He was absolutely brilliant for us last season whilst on loan and is crucial to us if we're to make a push for the play-offs. If we don't manage to sign him, then in my opinion we can forget about a play-off push.

RR: In short, do you think he's the man to fix the damage at a club like Sunderland based on your experience of him at Preston?

GB: Good question but considering the work he did to fix us after the damage Westley did, he is perhaps a good candidate. But the fact remains, he hasn't really achieved anything at this level other than getting clubs established. Considering the mess Sunderland are in and the urgent need to rebuild, perhaps that might be a good thing?

Huge thank you to Gary for the lowdown on our new boss!

You can follow Gary at: @shabbagaz84 and Lilywhitemagic at: @LilywhiteMagic

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