Nick Gray reflects on his time at Hillheads

Report by Harry Salkeld

This week I had the honour and the pleasure of interviewing Nick Gray for one last time. Nick resigned after our 8-1 victory over Sunderland RCA, and it clearly wasn’t an easy decision for him. 

Nick started the interview by talking about how pleased he was to get the job a couple years ago. ‘So, when the chairman asked if I’d become the manager, I was proud and honoured to take the job.’ Nick then mentioned how difficult challenges are in football, ‘I always liked a challenge but didn’t know how big of a task and challenge it would be.’  

Nick expressed how much he cares about the club, ‘I had to find training facilities for pre-season, during the season, putting bandages on players and even driving buses at times. I did all these jobs because I care for the club. I really enjoyed my time as a manager, and I feel the club is in a better place now than it was before I came.’ Nick then mentioned how supportive the club has been to him over the years, ‘Personally, I’ve had the toughest two years of my life, and the club has helped me through that along with friends and family.’ 

Nick then mentioned how despite everyone in football having different opinions and thoughts, ‘everyone at the club wants to take the club forward but at times we had differences of opinion.’ Nick spoke about two Bay legends, Derek and Jennifer Breakwell, who we have unfortunately lost over the past 12 months. ‘The club in the past 12 months has lost two absolutely fantastic stalwarts at the club, in Derek and Jennifer, who for me are irreplaceable. I’d like to mention that I think their grand daughter Emma is doing a cracking job following on from her grandparents great work, which can’t be easy for her.’ 

Nick then said, ‘I’d personally like to thank the club and the volunteers who are doing a fantastic job. The supporters who even, in our poorest games and results, never did anything but support the team.’ 

‘Liam who I can’t thank highly enough and all the players they’ve got me through some tough times, and I wish the club and the players the very best of luck for the season. And who knows I’m sure I’ll be back at Whitley Bay watching and who knows what will happen in the future.’ 

I then took the opportunity to ask Nick Gray some questions. I started by asking Nick how difficult of a decision was it to leave the club. ‘It was a big one it’s not easy doing it during the season. I just felt I couldn’t continue for the last eleven weeks of the season, without cheating myself, the players, and the club, that’s not fair on anyone.’ I then went on to ask how much Nick enjoyed his time at the club, ‘I loved it, as I say I was really pleased. I never applied for the job, the Chairman offered me the job and whether I would be interested.’ ‘It was an honour; it was nice to go round your hometown and people asking and seeing if you’re doing well and it’s a breath of fresh air.’ ‘We are definitely in better place than where we were.’ 

I asked Nick if he had a favourite moment in the dugout, ‘I think the Sunderland RCA game when we could have gone down. I think it was important the club didn’t get relegated.’ Nick then spoke about last season, ‘The whole of last season was a joy, we had the Newcastle U21’s, that was a great performance. ‘I thoroughly can say I enjoyed my time in the whole time I was there.’ 

I then asked Nick about his final game, an 8-1 win over Sunderland RCA, and whether that was the perfect way to end. ‘It is because usually end up with a defeat or not a good performance. I had made a decision before the game. I informed the players and the club after the game. It was a great way to go out and I was confident we were going to go on a run, and I see that we’re smashing now.’ 

I asked Nick what we can expect from Liam in the manager role, ‘Liam is very similar to myself. He wears his heart on his sleeve, he’s very pro-active. Liam always knows I’m there for help and advice if he needs it.’ 

I then ended the interview by saying, ‘Nick from everyone at the Bay, thank you for the success you have brought over the last couple years at the club. We have had many great performances and results. Finishing fourth last year would have been unthinkable at the beginning of the season. So, thank you and HOWAY THE BAY!!!’ 

I thoroughly enjoyed sitting down with Nick, listening to what he had to say and how fondly he spoke about the club and his time at the club. 


From everyone at Whitley Bay FC, thank you Nick Gray. 

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