Really proud of what we did: Simon Grayson on Bengaluru FC reaching the Hero ISL final
Bengaluru FC manager Simon Grayson has opened up about his experience of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season, his first one in the league.
The Englishman was first introduced to Indian football by Martin Bain, the CEO of FSDL when he was an invitee to the Hero ISL final. Back then, he was the in-charge of the Championship side Sunderland, the successor of David Moyes.
Speaking to The Athletic, the 53-year-old reveals why he chose the managerial role at Bengaluru FC.
“The timing just felt right,” Grayson told The Athletic.
“Three years ago if you’d offered me that, there’s not a chance I’d have said yes. Even a couple of years ago, I’d probably have backed out at the last minute,” he added.
“But when the offer came and I really thought about it, it felt like the right thing to do. It involves sacrifices because my family are all back in England but we all felt it was worth it,’ Grayson continued.
Grayson continues his rebuild project with the Blues in the quest to take the club back to its glory days. He took over the managerial role at Bengaluru FC in June and led them to their first-ever Durand Cup trophy in the month of September.
However, the former Leeds United manager had a difficult start to his Hero ISL career. But despite having a poor run of results in the first half of the season, Grayson orchestrated an incredible comeback that saw Bengaluru FC enjoy a 10-game winning streak to reach the Hero ISL final from nowhere.
The Blues came into the final with high hopes having earned the qualification after beating the Hero ISL League Winners Mumbai City FC in the semi-final. However, the Grayson-coached side ended up on the losing side after they were beaten by ATK Mohun Bagan 4-3 on penalties, falling short of their second Hero ISL trophy.
The English manager admitted Bengaluru FC’s Hero ISL ISL final crash still hurts him. He said, “I told the squad when I arrived: ‘I’m not here for a holiday, I’m here to win things.”
Bengaluru FC’s trip to the Fatorda Stadium in Goa saw them followed by thousands of passionate fans before suffering a painful defeat. But Grayson is beaming with pride as he compliments his team after a remarkable journey in the Hero ISL 2022-23 season.
“Losing the final was frustrating, obviously it was. But I’m really proud of what we did,” Grayson concluded.