Chennaiyin look forward to ‘great season’ under new head coach John Gregory
Chennaiyin FC confirmed the highly experienced John Gregory as their new head coach for the fourth season of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) on Monday. The former England international will be succeeding Marco Materazzi, who spent three seasons with the Super Machans and led them to title glory in Hero ISL 2015.
“I am very excited to have joined Chennaiyin FC and would like to thank the club owners for believing in me and giving me this wonderful opportunity. Chennaiyin has been one of the most consistent teams in the ISL so far and I want to continue the great work done by Marco Materazzi in the first three seasons. I am determined to help the club win the ISL trophy back for the people of Chennai and Tamil Nadu,” Gregory commented on his appointment by Chennaiyin.
Born in Scunthorpe, England, Gregory made his professional debut aged 18 for Northampton Town. A versatile midfielder, Gregory moved to First Division Aston Villa in 1977, where he enjoyed considerable success. His time with the Claret & Blue Army saw him create a unique record – which remains intact to date – by becoming the only player to slot into every outfield position, wearing each number from 2 to 11. He won six caps for his county and enjoyed brief stints at Brighton & Hove Albion, Queens Park Rangers and Derby County before winding down his playing career with Plymouth Argyle and Bolton Wanderers.
Gregory’s first steps into management came with Portsmouth and then with Plymouth Argyle, who he took over as interim manager for a short duration. This was followed by spells with Leicester City and Aston Villa’s coaching staff before landing the role of manager at Wycombe Wanderers.
After two years at Wycombe Wanderers, Gregory returned to Aston Villa as their new manager and helped them to a runners-up finish in the 2000 FA Cup against Chelsea in what was the last FA Cup final at the Old Wembley Stadium. He also enjoyed brief managerial tenures with Derby County and Queens Park Rangers before moving beyond English shores to land the top job at Israeli outfits Maccabi Ahi Nazareth and FC Ashdod.
His first taste of football in Asia came in 2011 with Kazakhstan’s FC Kairat, whom he helped stave off relegation in his first season with the club. The 63-year-old Englishman’s previous managerial job took him back to England with third tier outfit Crawley Town, where he was at the helm for a little over a year.
Speaking on Gregory’s appointment as Chennaiyin’s new head coach, co-owner Mrs Vita Dani said: “We are very happy to have appointed John as our head coach. He has immense experience at the very highest level of the game both as a player and coach and his vision and personality matches our club philosophy and ambition. We look forward to a great season under his guidance.”