Simon Grayson is one step away from adding the Indian Super League trophy to the list of his honours in his career. The former Preston North End manager has guided his Bengaluru FC side to the final of India’s top tier competition after winning a penalty shootout against Mumbai City FC.
The Indian Super League is competed for by 11 teams. They play in a round-robin format, facing each other twice before the top six teams compete in the play-offs.
After a poor first half of the season, Grayson’s Bengaluru went on an incredible run which saw them win their last eight games of the regular season. It saw them finish fourth in the league, which meant their season would carry on.
A 1-0 victory in extra-time over Kerala Blasters; who Iain Hume used to play for, saw them through to a two-legged semi-final against Mumbai City FC who had finished the season in first place. After that tie finished 2-2 on aggregate Grayson’s side triumphed 9-8 in a penalty shootout.
The final will take place this Saturday against ATK Mohun, as Grayson will look to win another play-off competition. The former North End manager is somewhat of a play-off specialist. He took Blackpool, Leeds United, Huddersfield Town and Preston North End all up to the Championship via the League One play-offs.
The 2015 win for Preston at Wembley over Swindon Town remains a memorable occasion for all North End fans, with not too much to shout about since that day.
The former Leicester City defender took over The Lilywhites after they departed with Graham Westley in 2013. Grayson spent over four years in the Deepdale hotseat, establishing the club back in the Championship before he was tempted away by Sunderland. Unfortunately for him, his spell with The Black Cats didn’t go too well, before spells further down the leagues with Bradford City, Blackpool again and Fleetwood Town.
He has been managing in India since June last year and could be set to win Bengalaru just their second ever Indian Super League trophy. The Indian league doesn’t have the pulling power like some other leagues outside Europe, and Grayson’s side is mainly made up of homegrown talent.
There is a few British players over there such as former Bristol City attacker Jay Emmanuel Thomas, and ex-Glasgow Rangers and Birmingham City player Greg Stewart.
Bengalaru fans are clearly happy with their current manager as the video below shows them singing his name just after they reached the season finale.