Ex-Villa manager set for return to English football after 6 year exile

Crawley Broadfield Stadium

John Gregory is set for a surprising return to England with Crawley Town.

Crawley Town sacked their manager Richie Barker last week despite sitting in mid table in League One. The immediate contenders for the job were the usual names banded around League One sides. However now it has emerged a rather surprising candidate looks set to take the job.

The Daily Mail have reported that Crawley Town are set to appoint former Aston Villa, Derby County and Queens Park Rangers manager John Gregory. It comes a bit out of the blue, previously the names linked with the job were Steve Cotterill, Danny Wilson and Michael Appleton.

Gregory's last spell in England was with QPR in 2007. He is most remembered for his spell at Villa Park, a job he took after impressing at Wycombe Wanderers. He took Villa to the summit of the Premier League halfway through the 1998-99 season, but their form tailed off and they ended up finishing 6th. The next season they were FA Cup runners-up to Chelsea in the last final at the old Wembley.

His next spell was at struggling Derby County, but he could not stop them from being relegated from the Premier League. He was sacked in March 2003, but went on to win £1 million in compensation due to unfair dismissal. In September 2006 he took the QPR job and led them to safety in the Championship that season. However following a poor run of results he was sacked in October 2007.

Since his last spell in England he has had two jobs in Israel and one in Kazakhstan. All three spells were short and unsuccessful though. It is a surprise to see Crawley Town go for Gregory ahead of other more likely candidates. His spell at Aston Villa was his best and since then he has failed to gain any success.

It is quite a high profile appointment for Crawley, but I don't think it's the right one. Hopefully for them, Gregory has been watching English football closely, even when he has had spells abroad.

image: © yellowbooktld

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