It's all Gray for Grays

Thurrock Gazette: New Grays manager Frank Gray New Grays manager Frank Gray

FARNBOROUGH Town manager Frank Gray was named the new boss of Grays Athletic on Wednesday afternoon.

Blues chairman Mick Woodward has spent the past week interviewing a host of candidates and after reaching a shortlist of six plumped for the 51-year-old who comes off the back of a highly successful season at Conference South side Farnborough.

Gray, who is the only British player to appear in two European Cup Finals for two different clubs, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest, will take charge of the side with immediate effect.

He said: "I'm looking forward to starting. It is a big challenge for me. Mark Stimson did a fantastic job and I will be looking to continue where he left off.

"Grays is a very progressive club with big ambitions and I am looking to help that progression."

Gray beat off competition from the likes of Andy King, Brian Talbot and Andy Hessenthaler to replace former boss, Mark Stimson, who left the club last week, just days after leading his side to a second successive FA Trophy.

We are not a little club anymore. We are a big club and we have got to have a manager who can carry on the work Mark did and look after the Grays babes and Frank Gray can do that.

Grays chairman Mick Woodward

Woodward made the decision late on Tuesday afternoon after being bowled over by Gray who produced a 20 page dossier on how he would improve the club at his interview.

"We have had so many quality, quality applicants," said Woodward. "But we needed to find a man who doesn't shout at the players and plays football in the right way and we have found him.

"Mark Stimson is a hard act to follow but Frank has done a fantastic job at Farnborough who were in turmoil when he joined them and he came here for his interview didn't talk about money and said it would be a privilege to come here.

"We are not a little club anymore. We are a big club and we have got to have a manager who can carry on the work Mark did and look after the Grays babes and Frank Gray can do that."

The Scotsman will bring with him to the New Rec assistant manager Gerry Murphy, an ex-coach at Fulham's academy and physio Steve Stelling.

There is also a possibility that Gray will want to raid the playing staff of his former club which includes bright young talents Warren McBean and Ashley Sestanovich.

Grays have had to work out a compensation package with Farnborough as Gray had a year left on his contract and Woodward paid tribute to the Conference South outift.

"They have been brilliant and I want to wish them all the best for next season," he said.

Gray, who has worked under managers such as Don Revie, Brian Clough and Jock Stein, took control at Farnborough at the start of last season and steered the club, who were dogged by on and off the field problems, to third in the Conference South before losing out in the end of season play-offs to Histon.

*Blues striker Dennis Oli netted England's second goal in their 2-0 win over Republic of Ireland in the first game of the national game home nations tournament on Tuesday night.

Oli glanced home Accrington Stanley winger, Gary Roberts' cross-shot to seal the win for England who included fellow Blues Stuart Thurgood, John Nutter and Aaron McLean in their starting line-up.

England faced Scotland yesterday (Thursday) and wrap up the four-team tournament with a match against the auld enemy Scotland at Eastbourne Borough's Priory Lane ground tomorrow (Saturday). Kick off 4pm.

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