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Gregan - a Football League legend

Paul Fletcher | 10:30 UK time, Monday, 29 September 2008

When I think of my favourite players from the Football League Sean Gregan must come out on top.

There is something about Gregan on a football pitch that I have always found inspiring.

It is not his pace - he never had much - or the deftness of his touch. It is not his dribbling skills or a feint that leaves opponents foundering. He can certainly pick a pass and is a decent header of the ball but it is not these either.

No, it is his swagger. He moves across a football pitch, home or away, like he owns it. It breeds confidence. It makes people believe.

gregan_split438.jpg Pushing 35, Gregan is at Oldham now and no longer a commanding central midfielder. As with many others before him, he has dropped back into the centre of defence. However, the competitiveness burns as brightly as ever and it must have frustated Gregan to watch from the sidelines as the Latics drew 1-1 with Huddersfield. The suspension is a legacy of a professional foul on Hartlepool's Ritchie Jones and the defender will miss a further two games.

Despite dropping two points against the Terriers, Oldham remain top of League One after five wins and three draws from their opening eight fixtures. It is exciting times in a particularly cold corner of Greater Manchester.

Gregan knows all about success at this level. He skippered Preston to the League One title in 2000 and West Brom to the riches of the Premier League in 2002. Gregan, who started out as a professional with Darlington in 1991, has played in all four divisions and made more than 500 league appearances. Understandably, such an experienced player is not getting carried away just yet.

"It is early days and for a club like Oldham a few injuries or suspensions will hit you hard but the quality in the squad has improved and I think we have as good a chance as anybody," Gregan told me.

Gregan is one of several senior players at Boundary Park, with the likes of Mark Crossley (39) and Andy Liddell (35) also adding experience and guile to a squad that contains talented youngsters such as defender Neil Eardley (19) and midfielder Chris Taylor (21).

Greegs, as he is known, is relishing having younger players around to "do the running" on the pitch and reckons they can only benefit from the good habits and experience that senior pros who have seen it and done it can pass on to them.

But if he had his way things would be a little bit different.

It is with an almost wistful sense of nostalgia that Gregan recalls his own days as an apprentice at Darlington.

"We would be out in the freezing cold and the snow, cleaning the stands, then the dressing rooms and after that boots," remembered Gregan. "Now the young lads come in and leave at the same time as us."

It is not just a case of sour grapes or a slightly sadistic streak, for Gregan it is about hunger and desire. Gregan illustrates his point by recounting a conversation he had with then Leeds manager Kevin Blackwell shortly after he joined the Yorkshire club in September 2004. Gregan was shocked to hear that some apprentices earned £75,000 a year, describing it as "ridiculous". With those sort of earnings at such a young age, thought Gregan, the youngster would think he had already made it and take his foot off the gas.gregan438.jpg

Last year the very same injury and suspension problems that Gregan is wary of this season forced manager John Sheridan to blood some of his younger players. They sometimes lacked a winning mentality and would let their heads drop if Oldham conceded. "There is a different air about the squad now," reckons Gregan. Twice this season Oldham have trailed by two goals - the Latics went on to draw one and win the other.

I asked Gregan whether he sees many similarities between the Preston side he captained to promotion at the start of the Millennium and the current Oldham side. Preston spent more money, had a bigger squad and a better stadium than the Latics was the Guisborough-born player's assessment. It is a different story with the managers.

David Moyes, who has gone on to be a real success with Everton, was in his first permanent managerial position back then, as Sheridan is at Oldham now. In Gregan's experience, both are ambitious, like to get the ball down and play with width and always look to try to win a game, never simply to avoid defeat. And both are extremely passionate. If that occasionally lands them in trouble, then so be it, reckons Gregan, better than Sven-Goran Eriksson "who looks like his granny has just passed away".

Gregan had already joined Preston when Moyes was promoted to manager but initially joined Oldham on loan. Dennis Wise had made it clear that his days at Leeds were numbered and Gregan was keen to have a look before committing to what would probably be his final move. He had played against Sheridan and knew that he had been a quality player - "You could not get the ball off him" - and he was not disappointed by what he saw in training. There was a lot of time dedicated to ball work and it became clear that Shezza, as Gregan refers to his boss, shared Moyes' desire to try to win every game. "It is enjoyable and when you get to my age that is what you want," reflects Gregan.

The managerial road is one that I could easily imagine Gregan travelling down. In conversation Gregan is forthright and honest. He speaks very well about the game; what he has to say makes sense and moves beyond the usual level of cliché that has become standard fare in football these days. He is not averse to the odd quip but knows when to be serious. A natural leader as a player, he is the current Oldham captain.

All of that, though, will have to wait.

For now, Gregan wakes up each day looking forward to the 90-minute drive that takes him to training from his home in Harrogate. His philosophy is that you can never have too many promotions and he remains intent on winning another one.

It would give me real pleasure to see a player I have always regarded highly win another promotion. Who are the players you most admire from the lower divisions?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Good article but i''l say it before everyone else does. Lancashire not Greater Manchester

  • Comment number 2.

    all rite, i'm no 1 on this blog. great stuff!

  • Comment number 3.

    why did that happen? anyhow, my favourite league player has gotta be james beattie. wonder why he's not in the premiership?

  • Comment number 4.

    I've also got plenty to say about this player, but admiration and legend status come nowhere near. He is no more than a cynical arrogant thug, as the countless bookings and odd leg-break will tell you. I simply cannot stand the man, he is mouthy, petulant, and disgracefully dirty. As far as I'm concerned his retirement can't come soon enough.

  • Comment number 5.

    Spot on, Fletch!

    Not for nothing was Sean known by the Deepdale faithful as "God".

    An excellent passer and really the most obviously inspiring PNE captain I've ever seen, his midfield anchor role was the rock upon which our promotion push in 2000 was built.

    My abiding memory of him will remain an audacious chip over the Norwich goalkeeper back in the early Noughties... from the halfway line!!

    To the tune of Oggie-Oggie: "Gregan, Gregan, Gregan / God! God! God!!"

  • Comment number 6.

    It's nice to feel the love in your blog Mr Fletcher. Does Gregan know how you feel?

    In my mind, all respect has got to be given for Mr Darren Anderton. Slagged off his entire career for being lazy and a sicknote, how lazy is he being now? Slugging it out on minus 15 points, week in week out for a pretty measly wage at Bournemouth. He certainly doesn't have to do it for the money and it's not as if he just came down for a one season pay day, this is his second season and he stayed after we were relegated and on minus 15 points to start the season. He has surely silenced the doubts about his commitment.

    I was a doubter by the way and I have seen the light.

  • Comment number 7.

    Thanks Fletch - along with Tim Vickery you are one of the better column writers on the Football pages. It's always refreshing to see some coverage and read stories and views about life away from the Premier League and long may it continue.

  • Comment number 8.

    Great player for Darlo and i think one of our best ever players. Always a big favorite of mine. Good to see he got sent off for fouling a hanger! Keep up the good work Fletcher. A mention for Darlo in two consecutive blogs!

  • Comment number 9.

    What a brilliant article! I'm glad the swagger got a mention....Gregan forever a deepdale legend for me.

  • Comment number 10.

    Steve Bull. What a legend, and I speak as someone who doesn't come from anywhere near the Black Country.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    Really enjoy your pieces Fletch, good stuff.

  • Comment number 13.

    JamminBen - If you, like me, have bumped into Dazza in Bournemouth on a saturday night with at least one blonde (and orange) Bournemouth Bombshell on his arm, it might give an indication as to his committment to the place.

    That said, his elegance and class on the pitch still oozes out of everything he does, and you can tell he's from a different level to most of the players. You don't lose it.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    As a Prestonian I remember Gregan strutting around Deepdale. I agree, there was an aura about him and the way he tackled made your eyes water - not vicious or dirty, but very hard. When he was on the ball there was generally an expection of something to cheer about, in fact when he played badly so did the whole team. I met him a couple of times in a country pub near Garstang and he was really quite reserved, maybe he just wanted a quiet night, but he was always polite and my repect for him increased because of it. When he left to go to West Brom - along with Appleton - I thought he was chasing the money and left Preston in a hole. I must admit I respected him less for it.

    He was a great player for Preston - couldn't shoot for toffee - but ran midfield imperiously.

  • Comment number 16.

    i can't believe this article sean gregan , the best league player you've ever seen .
    the biggest bully hacker more like .

  • Comment number 17.

    Wasn't Gregan's "swagger" caused by his constant lack of fitness and horrifically large posterior?! He had the biggest shorts in the Leeds team at a time when the likes of Michael 'Thunderthighs' Ricketts and Jonathan 'Wide Load' Douglas were in the squad!

    This article conveniently overlooks how appaulingly bad Gregan was at Leeds. A massive waste of money at a time when we could ill afford to be wasting it.

    And as for his comments about the trainees at that time - they were all far more hardworking than he was.

    My lasting memory of Gregan will always be of him casually walking back when Leeds were under pressure, and then balling out younger players for not tracking back quick enough.

    A legend at PNE he may be. At Leeds he's synonymous with failure.

  • Comment number 18.

    I agree with threapwhite - the few times I saw him for Leeds he was absolutely dreadful. 'fraid he was not on my radar in his earlier career. Maybe he was just past it by the time he got to Leeds.

  • Comment number 19.

    You're a very funny man Paul. Gregan was rubbish for Leeds in midfield and the crowd made their feelings known.

    He did ok CB for us but was exposed whenever anybody with pace was against him. I remember him running back once and feeling the turf thump, thump and shudder as he ran, he was that heavy, it was like being charged by an elephant.

    Wish him well at Oldham obviously

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm sure all the bitter Leeds fans will have been very unimpressed with him strutting around Elland Road this season nullifying the boy wonder Beckford then?

    His pace may not be the best, as he is in footballing terms, an old man now. But certain things are still there which make him a top player in the third tier.

    However, these are all irrelevant. What is relevant is that he is a player that will try things. He'll nutmeg attackers. He'll do stupid goal costing passes. Instead of shepherding a ball out for a throw in he'll play it one side of a sliding attacker and run around the other side (as at Gillingham in one of the best pieces of anticipation and balls I've seen). It doesn't always come off, but when it does (which is about nine out of ten times) it more than makes up for the times it goes wrong. In short, he and his ilk are the reason I watch football.

  • Comment number 21.

    Greegs was and is a total legend at North End.
    Never the fittest, or most skillful, or even possessing a decent shot but as your article indicates he has presence on a football pitch partly because of his size but mainly because of his confidence.
    He was North Ends enforcer in chief always willing to get stuck in and often leaving a trail of broken and dispirited midfielders in his wake. It is of great benefit to have pace in football if only to avoid the number of times you came into contact with the likes of Greegs.
    Not quite good enough for the prem but he had to give it a go when West Brom came calling.
    Going down hill due to age and injuries catching up with him at Leeds but he was just one of a squad of many not good enough to save a club in wretched decline at the time.
    Hope he can steer Oldham back to where they belong.
    A future PNE manager for sure.

  • Comment number 22.

    Broken midfielders in the leg sense, what a glorious man....

  • Comment number 23.

    To all the Leeds fans commenting on here - I'd certainly admit that his time at Leeds was something of a disappointment.

    I know that he had a few run ins with some fans during his time at Elland Road. I asked him about this. Gregan said that matters were far from smooth early in his time there but that, by the end, he had won over a lot of them, made them realise that if nothing else he at least tried his best every time he pulled on the shirt.

    Gregan added that he joined with Leeds still tumbling downwards after the dream turned sour. He said he got the impression that expectations were unrealistic, that many fans expected to club to easily bounce back to the top flight, and that it was difficult to deal with such unrealistic expectations.

    And as for Oldham - is it in Lancashire? I had it down as being in Lancashire at first but, after checking it out, got the impression it is now part of Greater Manchester.

  • Comment number 24.

    And as for Oldham - is it in Lancashire? I had it down as being in Lancashire at first but, after checking it out, got the impression it is now part of Greater Manchester.


    Guess it depends who you ask. Ask anyone in Oldham and the response is Lancashire without a doubt.

  • Comment number 25.

    Gregan is one of the dirtiest players to have played football in the last 15 years and totally undeserving of this eulogy.

    Fletch, your articles on the FL until now have been impressive so I am hoping that this is just a 1 week abberration.

  • Comment number 26.

    'Gregan - a Football League legend' Errrrrrrr, i don't think so matey, he may have been good for Preston, but when he signed for us baggies he turned out to be way out of his depth in the Pemier League, a bit like we were at the time.

    Even when we dropped down back to div 1 he was pretty mediocre in the center of midfield, only when he went to play in the back 4 in the last few games of our promotion season is when he put in some good performances.

    Generally he was slow, had poor distribution and lacked any great skill on the ball, i'm sure he was meant to have a good shot on him, but i don't recall seeing any 25yard goals. And he wobbled more than swaggered his way across the pitch.

    Think the majority of Baggies fans were glad to see the back of him as we moved him on to Leeds.

    As for real legends of the football league, then Darren Moore aka 'Big Dave' has gotta be up there, good for Pompey and got promotion with Bradford, West Brom and Derby.

    i'll never forget his goal against Palace on the final game of the season to beat Wolves to promotion. Legend.

  • Comment number 27.

    sorry to all if previous post offended anyone.

    Its just amazing to read a post about a player who was absolutely awful at Leeds getting huge praise. Its as if we are talking about a completely different palayer to the one that could not run, gave away too many free kicks and could not pass to another Leeds player.

    Article obviously about Maldini and not the Sean Cregan I remeber.

    Strange.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    Good article Fletch, obviously not everyone agrees but then what are these blogs for?

    For me being an Oldham fan, I think he does have a swagger and it has certainly has done the trick for us, having finished 6th, 8th and are currently top since his arrival.

    I agree the guy doesn't have pace but positioning and the ability to out bully big forwards makes all the difference, he didn't play on Saturday against the Terriers and Liam Dickinson ripped us apart, Gregan would have have sorted him out in the first 5 mins, alot of people don't like to hear that but every team needs someone to get about the oppsosition, you Leeds fans who are old enough will remember Mark Aizlewood doing that for you.

    Anyhow, good to see a feature on a latics player and fingers crossed for one last promotion for the big man.

    Keep the faith
    Brisbane Blue

  • Comment number 30.

    Brilliant!

    This is spot on.

    Soon after he joined the Latics, Gregan made his considerable presence felt early on in a match against Millwall, as he towered above their big striker to win the ball, leaving said striker broken. If not physically, then certainly mentally.

    He hid in midfield, on the wing, anywhere that Gregan wasn't.

    I'd never before seen someone literally scared of another player on the pitch.

    Also, Sean has decided he's going to score from his own half this season. And knowing him, he probably will.

    Here are his attempts so far:

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 31.

    Sorry Sean - but this is a joke.

    Just because he's been around and a well known "GOB" doesn't make him a legend.

    He's always been a dirty player who passed the ball sideways well. I know he stood out in the mediocre PNE side in Division 2 - but so what - that wouldn't be difficult?

    It's obvious that when he was asked to step to the plate in any decent side he was poor - ask any Leeds fan.

  • Comment number 32.

    Never knew Gregan was responsible for getting Leeds relegated to League One....... ABSOLUTE LEGEND !

    Seriously though, he played at Leeds when you were doomed. I imagine most players didn't impress during that time. That doesn't mean he isn't a quality player. Sometimes certain clubs just don't work out for players. Whatever the reason there really is no need to enforce your opinions of how bad/good of a player he is solely from his time spent at Leeds.

  • Comment number 33.

    Just wanted to say what a good article this and to thank Sean for all the cracking work he did on the pitch for PNE.

    He came into centre mid for us when we were struggleing in what was division 2 and is largely responsible for taking us upto the verge of the premier league.

    I was always remember Gregan's, Beckham esk goal from the halfway line against Norwich as I was sitting dead in line with him when he hit it, watching fly right over Rob Green and into the top corner, followed by calls of:

    "From the half-way line Gregan, from the half way line Gregan!"

    Since he left our midfield has never been the same, and I know he perhaps didn't impress at WBA and Leeds, however he didn't do too bad as it took him about two weeks to become captain once he joined WBA.

    And the fact that he went to Leeds and helped them get relegated, makes him more of a legend to me.

    I understand that he his a key player for Oldham, and wish him every success for the rest of the season, and his carrer, and he is welcome back to Deepdale anyday.

  • Comment number 34.

    Paul Futcher at Grimsby. The classiest player I have EVER seen...

  • Comment number 35.

    How cheesy is that grin?

  • Comment number 36.

    Spot on about Sean Gregan. He is a proper professional with proper values. We Baggies fans hold him in very high regard. I saw him at Orient a couple of seasons ago and he prompted his Oldham side to a 2-2 draw in a game which saw Orient hanging on at the end after they had been 2-0 up. I agree he will make a good manager one day.

  • Comment number 37.

    Good article fletch, about time Gregan started getting the credit he deserves. I think a lot of the criticism hes recieving about being a dirty player is very unfair. Yes, hes not afraid to let opposing strikers know hes there, but I wouldn't mark him down as a dirty player because of it. Also, to all those Leeds fans whinging about him being rubbish, where any of you at Ellandf Road this season when he was MOTM by a country mile? Kept 'superstar' Beckford quiet all game. Also applauded the Leeds fans at the end as well. Class act.

  • Comment number 38.

    I did have something to say, but it appears cotheria has already beaten me to it.

    Everybody read cotheria's post, its better than this article.

    Gregan is, never was and never will be a legend, average at best.

    And yes, I am a Leeds fan.

  • Comment number 39.

    woops, i'll rephrase that shall i:

    ....Is NOT, never was and never will be.....

  • Comment number 40.

    Another interesting article and nice to see someone I've always had the upmost respect for as a model pro get some recognition these days when the Premiership seems to command so much attention from sports writers.

    Gregan has always been down to earth and a guy who has spoke sense on and off the field. Can only wish him the best for the remainder of this season.

  • Comment number 41.

    from a pne fan. this guy was
    awesome. a true leader and a top footballer.

    ''gregan from the halfway line!!!''

    p.s. even more of a legend for contributing in leeds united's rot!!!

  • Comment number 42.

    Reading this article just makes me think the term legend gets thrown about willy nilly nowadays! Surely a true legend gets remembered for performing well for more than 1 club (a club in the 3rd tier as well I might add)
    And to all Beckford haters your all just jealous cos we've got the best striker outside the premiership!

  • Comment number 43.

    Response to iango82 - "I know he stood out in the mediocre PNE side in Division 2".
    It was no mediocre team, the team he played in, from the start to end of a season in div 2 finished 5th, and then won the league, the following season we got to the playoff final in div 1, so it was definitly not a mediocre team. And now he's helping Oldham to what looks like a very good season.

    While making this point, I would like to point Fletch towards the direction of Paul McKenna, if he's looking for a football league legend, this is the guy. The same club all of his carrer, without a single complaint, playing in all three football league divisions and two play-off finals. He also played side by side with Gregan in that "mediocre" side that won the second divison.

    For me Gregan is a legend, but Mckenna must be the most underrated player, and biggest football league legend there is.

  • Comment number 44.

    Just because Gregan had an indifferent time at Leeds does not make him a bad player. Was Veron a bad player just because he flopped at United? Or how about Henry at Juventus?

    The fact is Gregan spent his best days at PNE and West Brom. Oldham are now seeing the end of an excellent career and hopefully he can top it off by leading a young Oldham side to promotion.

    If I'm being honest, when Leeds released him after he came on loan to us, I was shocked. He was instumental in getting us into the play-offs that season. Last season seen him spend most of it on the injury table and boy did Oldham know about it. No leadership and a very young Oldham side who couldn't keep their heads when the pressure was on or who's heads dropped when we went a goal down. If he was fit last season we would have made the play-off IMO.

    We missed him greatly on Sat and as already mentioned, Dickinson (Huddersfield) really bullied our centre halves, which would not have happened with Gregan on the pitch.

    My favourite Gregan 'moment' came last season. Gregan made his comeback from a long injury against Swindon away, but due to lots of other injuries Shez employed him in the centre of midfield. Not match fit and not able to really cut the mustard in the engine room due to his age/weight, he still looked class for large periods of the game. We lost 3-0 but his effort was their for the 300 or so Oldham fans who made the long journey. A never say die attitude that fans at Boundary Park love to see. Along side Clint Hill and Fitz Hall he is the best centre halve Oldham have had for the last 10 years or so.

  • Comment number 45.

    I had the pleasure of playing against 'greegs' in the teesside junior alliance many moons ago . I will always remember him as an outstanding young talent who stood out head and shoulders beyond anyone else on the pitch and have watched his career blossom with keen interest , even in those days you could tell he was going to be good but how good we had no idea. As for going into management if he can instill the passion he has always shown into the young then he can only be a success . congratulations on great success so far and more to come in the future. My other league player was another who always gave 110% Andy Ritchie oh for that kind of effort from the boro forwards

  • Comment number 46.

    Gregan was also part of the team who got Leeds to the play off final as well as the one that got relegated so perhaps more relevant to blame the management for Leeds demise?

    I always thought of him as a talisman for Preston. When he was playing you felt more confident. Not as good a player as McKenna but more of a personality.

    One memory of the second leg play off at Deepdale 2006, Gregan (playing for Leeds) against PNE tried one of his famous long distant shots. It landed somewhere in row 25 of the Alan Kelly stand, the Preston fans started the 'Gregan, Gregan...' chant.

    He gave the crowd a friendly wave (not the two fingered kind)

  • Comment number 47.

    "thoult wrote:

    Thanks Fletch - along with Tim Vickery you are one of the better column writers on the Football pages."

    Give the brown nosing a rest, will you?

    ------------

    " Paul Fletcher - BBC Sport wrote:

    To all the Leeds fans commenting on here - I'd certainly admit that his time at Leeds was something of a disappointment."

    Strange how you just brushed over it then in the original article.

  • Comment number 48.

    Re the first comment .. you are actually right Paul, Oldham IS technically in Greater Manchester. The postal address is however Lancashire.

  • Comment number 49.

    It may not have worked out at Leeds in the end, but just the odd fact. In the playoff season he played 34 times. In the next relegation season he played twice, and one of those in the League Cup. He played no part in Leeds' disasterous/hilarious relegation.

    I'm not sure whether there was any clause (as rumoured) which meant that Leeds would have to pay WBA a further fee if he played again, or not. But things clearly didn't work out with him and Wise culminating in him refusing to play in the stiffs. He was clearly unfit on his arrival at Boundary Park (well it was actually at Kettering where he scored a stunning 25 yarder). His fitness at times has been a bit of an issue, but his reading at centreback is now very good - which nullifies even the fastest of forwards when he is on his game.

    Either that or they can't get round his backside.

  • Comment number 50.

    not read all the above articles, but Sean Gregan is the consumate professional.

    let's be clear - Darlington groomed him, Preston North End tailored him (his best career performances were at Deepdale), West Brom gave him his Premiership dream, Leeds (fans) abused him (the minority) and Oldham are allowing him to grow old gracefully.

    He will make a good manager one day, from his midfield position he reads the game so well. Perhaps he should have taken more risks in going forward, or even passing forward, rather than waiting for team mates to find a better option, but he controls the game to the temp he wants.

    I have fond memories of Sean Gregan, running out at Deepdale (v Bristol City, Oct '99) holding my daughter's, the PNE Mascot, hand. I also remember him scoring with his backside once .... it just happened to be in the way ;-)

    Good Luck to Sean and Oldham this season. Maybe we can see him play once more at Deepdale, perhaps in the cup this season? It will be the biggest roar of the day, if his name is mentioned at Deepdale one more time.

  • Comment number 51.

    I'm just wondering what Leeds fan took objection to me making comment about the incident in the late 1970's when they tried to burn our ground down?

    I'm wondering what house rule is broken by stating the truth, Gregan has a huge backside, was past it when he left us, and I was so happy to see him go to a club that deserved him, the ground burning Leeds!

  • Comment number 52.

    addendum - to #50

    to the (minority?) of Leeds fans that are quite scathing of Sean Gregan....

    .... he must remain professional, of course, but to those of you who abuse Sean Gregan and his family, when Mrs.Gregan who was 8 months pregnant at the time, shame on you.

    What I find hard to believe is how they had time to judge Gregan, when he played, Leeds United would be doing well, especially on a run of form. When he didn't play, as mentioned by someone else, they didn't do well, and he only played a couple of games in the relegation team.

    Facts do not lie, so why do Leeds fans hate him so much? It was Kilgallon who held the spot when they were relegated? or are they bitter that Danny Pugh went to PNE and Gregan was brought in as the replacement??

    Fact: Gregan has been loved as a player, anywhere he played - except Leeds. Hmmmmm.

    Thanks for the memories Mr.Gregan !

  • Comment number 53.

    Gregan is obviously not the perfect player by any means. He is arrogant, a bully and not the most cultured player you will see - but he gives 100% every match and has a huge influence on the young players with his leadership.
    He is also a player that makes you smile - sometimes, for no obvious reason at all, he will try and kick the ball as high as possible. And he is capable of surprising pieces of skill. But the one thing that anyone who has seen him will remember is that swagger - he marches around the pitch like it belongs to him - the lord of the manor. Long may he continue.

  • Comment number 54.

    Count me out of his fan club. Gregan epitomises everything that's wrong with football at this level. He is just big and strong - thug like really. If it moves kick it. One thing you did get right, no pace, no touch, no skill. But strong – oh yes, strong. And at this level that's all that counts

  • Comment number 55.

    Oldham Sheridan (49) had it spot on. The season Leeds went down Gregan was playing for Oldham and we made it to the play-offs!

    Last season our late decline coincided with Gregan's injury.

    A great player and a fantastic influence. I have little doubt that he will take over from Sheridan once he leaves.

    ...and he will do well. Oldham have a good recent history of having faith with, and grooming, successful young managers (Ritchie, Dowie, Sheridan) and you can tell that Gregan will go he same way

  • Comment number 56.

    swagger!!!!!! i think you mean waddle

    probably the biggest most useless player ever to play for leeds

    especially when you take into account his terrible attitude towards other players

    we chased him for ages and he arrived at leeds for the princely sum of £500,000 pounds about £500,001 more than he was worth after waddling around west brom reserves for a year or so

    did he arrive fit and raring to go, no he came looking like jabba the hutt

    the only good side to his game is his heading ability in the box and if you keep putting the ball high into the box he will keep you out all day, as he did at elland road earlier this year

    play it on the floor and he will be lucky to stay on the pitch, watch his yellow cards pile on as quickly as the pounds when the going gets tough which it will

    dont get me wrong at league 1 level hes competent enough and if people play to his strengths he'll do well for oldham

    but expect hazell at carlisle or any other speed merchants to have big games against him and dont expect much of him if you get promoted

    oh and if you have any young stars coming through keep him clear as he tends to give them suicide balls and then give them a right mouthful for his own mistakes

  • Comment number 57.

    Oldham fan here...

    In the modern game, it's all about technical ability on the ball, and the ability to pick a pass - well in the premiership anyway. Down in the lower leagues - although you still need that, you also need what i call a "bruiser".

    They do the work which no-one takes great notice of...clearing balls, great defensive headers etc etc. Gregan is a prime example of this type of player. The majority of teams at our level would love to have him somewhere in their team.

    He's a great captain, he'll pat you on the back if you do something good, or he'll stick a rocket up your backside if you make a mess of something. He's a great person to have around when a large part of the squad is young, and as stated iin the blog, we do have a number of young players.

    For those who call him dirty - i beg to differ. He's old fashioned, he loves a tackle, and he's not afraid to go where it hurts. Thats doesn't make him dirty....

    After all, his sending off the other week was his first since 1999 i believe

  • Comment number 58.

    DJ-OAFC is right. Hartlepool was Gregan's firat sending off since 1999. That's not exactly Darren Purse material is it? (Now there's a thug)!

    Gregan was sadly missed on Saturday, Liam Dickinson was a lot for Stefan Stam, a guy playing his first game of the season to cope with. Gregan would have sorted him out for sure.

    Lets hope neither of them are suspended for the return (03-01-09) as it will be worth the admission alone just to watch those two.

    There is no doubt Gregan adds steel to our defence though, against the Trannies he was outstanding and there is no way we would have come away from Prenton Park with 3 points had it not been for him.

    As for the Leeds fans on here, they all know who is responsible for their misfortunes, and it isn't Gregan, in substantial part they are themselves to blame.

    A poisonous combination of fans who wanted to play with the big boys and management to weak to resist those demands led to the debt disater that was your downfall.

    Never mind, I heard the Chelsea chief exec on the radio a couple of weeks ago commenting that according to surveys, Leeds are still the most hated team in English football, so at least you have that to hang on to.

  • Comment number 59.

    The Gregan swagger is still evident, he walks on as though he is the best player on the pitch and often leaves it that way. Leeds fans whinging saying he was poor in a 'decent' side are on another planet. Leeds were far from decent in their relegation season, Gregan probably one of the many scapegoats? The swagger was evident at Elland Road this seson, Beckford trudged off having not had a kick against a 35 year old with no pace!! A legand in my opinion.

  • Comment number 60.

    Am i the only leeds fan who isn't anti-Gregan?!

    Ok, so he was nowhere near as useful for us as he was at PNE (or at Oldham against us this season) BUT he wasn't as bad as you're making out! I watched him play for us a lot over his years at Leeds, home, away, reserves, I didn't miss much and I have to say, i think he did a good job, all things considered. yeah he has next to no pace but his positioning and reading of the game is excellent - the point is, when gregan couldn't get back when the opposition were on the break there should have been someone else to cover who DID have the pace - you can hardly blame that on greegs! I like the guy, thought he gave 100% in the vast majority of games and never really got the respect he deserved at leeds.

    Legend? Probably not. Quality lower league player who gives his all? Yes.

  • Comment number 61.

    I think Gregan is unlucky to get all this grief from fellow Leeds fans, he wasnt the worst player we had at that time! Now Paul Butler he was terrible!

    I think Gregan's problem at leeds were the fact that he was over weight and out of shape

    The amount he cost (not his fault) for the money we paid for him, we expected better!

    Kevin Blackwell played him out of position, it was clear to see Gregan wasnt capable of playing Centre mid anymore and shouldnt have played him there!

    Also once moved to CB he kept out local lad Matt Kilgallon who all the Leeds fans rated (rightly so), although I think it should have been Butler dropped and Kilgallon and Gregan playing at the back!

    He wasnt a great player for us but I thought he did ok and shouldnt be villified as he has been done by other Leeds fans!

  • Comment number 62.

    Noticed the title has been changed to "lower" league legend on the BBC site

    What happened did the premiership police not agree or something?

  • Comment number 63.

    My Lord he was rubbish at Leeds.Possibly the worse person iv ever seen grace a white shirt.

    Slow, Dirty, Agressive, Nasty bit of work

    Then again so many players Leave Leeds and shine elsewhere because Elland Road can also be a hatefull place sometimes

  • Comment number 64.

    As another Leeds fan who was not totally anti Gregan I guess some of the criticism is little harsh. The problem was that he came with a high price tag at a time when the club was nearly bust. He did however have a number of decent games and generally looked like he was up for it.

    He was, of course, hampered, with a central partner called "Butler" who was had a turning circle and speed of a "route master" bus who would make, the previously mentioned, Maldini look stretched.

  • Comment number 65.

    To all the people wondering about whether Oldham is Greater Manchester or Lancashire, GM isn't actually a county, it's a region. Manchester and the whole of Greater Manchester is a part of Lancashire, and if you ask anyone from Oldham, or places like Bury or Rochdale for that matter, they'll tell you we're a part of Lancashire.

    As to the article, Gregan is a legend, tackling hard but fair (generally, although he does catch people now and again due to the lack of pace) and I've not seen many players as commanding in the air. The latics fans love him because he wears his heart on his sleeve, aswell as because he's the big strong centre half football fans love. Hopefully he can take us up before he eventually retires.

    Leeds fans dislike him because he was there at a point when they were forced to accept they're not a big club anymore. At that age of course he couldn't cut it playing midfield in the championship, blame the manager at the time, not Gregan!

  • Comment number 66.

    stu9000 has a wonderful point. I'm a Rochdale fan and had the "pleasure" of watching Paul Butler blossom into the carthorse everyone remembers. The fact that he played in the Premiership still gives me hope of making it into football one day!!!

    Gregan might have been slow but he wasn't dirty - just loved a tackle and which honest-to-goodness football fans can say that they don't admire that type of player.

    As far as his Leeds exploits go, he was in a fantastically poor team with an amazingly bad manager and little more than a large pile of skin partnering him at the back. Don't blame Gregan for that!!

  • Comment number 67.

    In terms of lower league legends though, Stevie Whitehall or Gary Jones at Rochdale!!! Legends both!!

  • Comment number 68.

    oldham part of gr manchester which was all mostly part of salfordshire,
    its called evolution which i hope changes things somewhat..

  • Comment number 69.

    whats all this keep the faith stuff about?
    are all oldham fans converting into to an organised mainstream religion?

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    Was an absolute joy to have a beer after the game with my leeds supporting mate outside the peacock, after months of him slating Gregan - He absolutely made a mockery out of the stick he was getting by making the "best forward line" in the division look truely ordinary.....
    In this division Gregan would be worth a place in any team, and if that was argued against you would probably be under the illusion that you were a far bigger club or better team than the reality... (no-one inparticulair).... GREGANS GONNA GET YER, GREGANS GONNA GET YER

  • Comment number 72.

    As a life long Northender, Greegs comes only second to Alex Bruce as my all time favourites over the last 30 plus years (just ahead of Paul Mckenna). I even (just about) forgave him for playing for Leeds. You have to remember just how poor PNE were for the most of the Ninties to appreciate how well he played, week in week out. Inspriational. My personal favourite memory is an away game one Tuesday evening at Fulham. PNE won 1-0 (Appleton scored direct from a corner) but Greegs was immense, breaking up wave after wave of attacks and inspiring his collegues. Brave and commited, his passing was always excellent and he read the game so well.

  • Comment number 73.

    elfdan - Oldham nearly went under shortly after losing our play-off semifinal in 2003. We had about 3 or 4 charity matches to raise funds and the club were selling seats. Keep the Faith was our slogan when we thought we were going to be extinct and it kind of stuck!

  • Comment number 74.

    its been around alot longer than that though Olympique, It was on the huge flag we had back at Wembley in 94, took alot more relevance around that period though

  • Comment number 75.

    I remember Gregan for Preston. He was dirty. Him and Ronnie Maugue battling against each other against the gas was never one for the faint hearted. I remeber Gregan nailing Ronnie in a cup game at the gas.Ronnie had to go off. We played them boxing day later on in the year at deepdale and they chased after each other and booted lumps out each other all afternoon. It was lower league football at its best. Gregan i dont like you because you never played for Bristol Rovers and you always gave us a hard time but im sure i would if you did i would think you were mint. Up the gas. Holloway is the proper legend by the way.

  • Comment number 76.

    "Pushing 35, Gregan is at Oldham now and no longer a commanding central midfielder. As with many others before him, he has dropped back into the centre of defence"

    I feel I should point out that he came to us from Darlington as a marauding centre-half and it was while he played at North End that he moved up into midfield.

    One of the North End greats, Gregan was one of those players who was so unpredictable that even he didn't know what he was going to do next!

  • Comment number 77.

    > Pushing 35, Gregan is at Oldham now and no longer a commanding central midfielder

    That must be contravening the trade descriptions act - inferring he was ever 'commanding' in centre midfield.

  • Comment number 78.

    the curse of bbc coverage, gregan's form has got worse and worse since this article appeared culminating in him getting dropped.

    please write something else beeb so we can have our skipper back!!! ;)

  • Comment number 79.

    Well I certainly think he is a great player. There are certain aspects I like about him and some I dont.

    He is a very slow player and I think his pace does let him down, but he has a great deal of confidence and pride about what he does and not afraid to go into tackles. He's only dirty when his temper gets the better of him.

    But overall he is a great player for us still and a top centre back.

  • Comment number 80.

    I don't like him!

  • Comment number 81.

    Who is he and why does he play for a small team who have no ambitions?

  • Comment number 82.

    wanted to like him as i'm from close to Guisbro and a Leeds fan

    The day we played Watford in the Play=Off final to go back to the PREM i was almost on the front row and watched him warming up... I could tell he wasn't absolutely determined ... and so it proved. Agree wit Leeds fans on here that he didn't quite deliver what the image you've set out suggests he could.

    My fave? OOOHHHHHhhhh Bobby Bobby Bobby Bobby Bobby Bobby Davison

 

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