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Meet Morpeth Town’s FA Vase-winning manager Nick Gray Who Works For Gateshead College and Newcastle United Academy

Nick Gray
July 2016
Reading time 5 Minutes

Each month, we look at some of the North East’s most fascinating jobs...

This time, we pop a bottle of champagne with Morpeth Town’s FA Vase-winning manager Nick Gray.

What’s your job title? 
I’m a Football Coach. I work at Gateshead College, Newcastle United Academy and Morpeth Town FC.

What does that mean? 
I coach players, I go and watch players at the academy level, and I do match analysis on opposition that we’re going to play.

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How did you get the job?
I applied for the job at Gateshead College about four or five years ago, and through that Newcastle United asked me if I’d like to be involved in the academy.

What was your dream job?
Football player. I had three years Northampton, and I went on loan to York and Sunderland, then I had my lateral collateral ligament taken out of my ankle. I was 20 when I had to stop playing full-time.

What was the worst job you’ve ever had?
Working at Unipres as a machine operator. I hated night shifts. Waiting to go into work on a Sunday night was like waiting for the electric chair. It was horrendous.

What time do you start work? 
8.45am at the college.

What time do you finish? 
About 10pm. I usually end up watching a match in the night-time.

What does a working day entail? 
I start at Gateshead College, then I have to fill in my player reports for Newcastle United, I prepare training sessions for Morpeth Town and at present I’m doing assignments for my Uefa A-licence. I’ve done 17 assignments for it this season.

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What’s the best thing about your job? 
Winning. Winning the FA Vase was my best day of my life in football. It’s good when you see progress when you’re coaching, when you see players improving.

And the worst part? 
Telling people they’re not in the team. Giving people your honest opinion – and that’s all it is – that they’re not producing the goods.

What are your career ambitions?
After my A-licence I’d like to come out of management and just concentrate on coaching full time, whether that be in this country or abroad. I’ll probably look at the Far East: Malaysia, Thailand and Qatar, with the World Cup being there.

What assumptions do people wrongly make about your job? 
I think some people think that it’s personal, which it’s not; I make decisions based on what’s best for the players and the team. I think you’ve got to be single-minded to do the job, and sometimes some people think you’re being a bit arrogant or whatever. I had to leave five players out in the Vase. It was awful.  

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Which managers do you try to emulate?
Sir Alex Ferguson: his single-mindedness, but also getting the best out of his players – if they didn’t toe the line, they’d be out, no matter who they were – and his honesty and strictness.

Is the hairdryer treatment actually effective?
It can be; it depends who you’re giving the hairdryer treatment to. Some people will respond to it, other people won’t. That’s football and society these days: everyone’s quick to take to praise, but not to accept criticism.

Have you ever played Football Manager?
No, I haven’t. I’m hopeless on computers.

If you were England manager, would you play Rooney?
I think he’s got to have a part in the team, but the hard thing is I think Kane and Vardy should be playing as well. Look at us: experience helped us win the FA Vase.

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