By Jake Brown - @jakesbrown33
After rubbing shoulders with just about all the managers to have experienced the fast-paced manager merry-Go- Round of the football league in his thirteen year coaching career, you’d be forgiven for thinking Simon Grayson’s involvement with some of footballs greats would be limited to on the pitch, or a few yards behind, in the ever so constrained technical area.
Former England internationals, the likes of Les Ferdinand and Terry Butcher, are just a few of the colossal names to unite with the new Bantams manager to raise awareness of prostate cancer.
Describing it as an ‘opportunity’, the then Preston manager was preparing his side for the visit of premier league giants Manchester United in 2015, but gleefully beamed as the small matter of a bike ride from London to Amsterdam with these ex-internationals came to attention.
Not satisfied yet though, Grayson led another team to conquer Yorkshire the following year, taking his fundraising total in excess of £130,000, well over City’s weekly wage budget. It would be fitting that he would take to Yorkshire to maintain his fundraising for Prostate Cancer UK, the place he really made a name for himself in management- gaining promotion in separate stints with Leeds and Huddersfield.
Those observant City fans may be able to spot the ‘Man of men’ pin badge he proudly boasts in the dugout on matchday, just a small sign of his heavy involvement with Prostate Cancer UK. He has played a lead role as an ambassador for the organisation, after being personally affected by the loss of his best friend to the disease in 2014. ‘Prostate cancer is very close to my heart and I support it in honour of my late friend, Steve Garbett’ explains the new bantam’s manager, who has since gone on to help inspire fellow managers to wear the badge, assisting in playing a key role in raising awareness of cancer within the sport.
Understandingly, Grayson ranks the bike ride as his number one biggest achievement in his career, claiming the ‘ups and downs of the hills in England’ are the biggest challenge. No doubt City fans will be familiar with ‘ups and downs’, but not the ones the new boss is referring too, and he will definitely oversee more of these with thirteen games of the season still remaining, as City hover dangerously just outside the play-offs. Let's just hope another promotion can be added to Grayson’s CV in May, and maybe even creep into his top 5 greatest achievements. It will take something special to beat that number one accomplishment though…