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Andy_Gray_(footballer_born_1964)

Andy Gray (footballer born 1964)

Andrew Arthur Gray (born 22 February 1964) was an English footballer who played in the centre of midfield or as a striker during his career, before going into International management. He is currently the coach of the Sierra Leone national football team.

Playing career

After playing for Crystal Palace's youth team in 1980-81, Andy drifted into non-league football with Corinthian Casuals and Dulwich Hamlet where he was spotted by Crystal Palace manager Steve Coppell. Coppell had to run Palace on a shoestring budget, and saw Gray as a good use of his small amount of money.

Gray moved to Palace and quickly became a regular in the team, playing in the forward positions. In the 1985-86 season, Gray top-scored with 11 goals. However, after the signings of Ian Wright and Mark Bright, Gray moved into central-midfield, and his career came alight.

Gray missed Palace's promotion to the top flight due to short, unsuccessful spells with Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers, but he returned to Selhurst Park for the 1989-90 season. This proved to be a remarkable season, and Gray managed to secure himself a legacy that will survive in Palace fans' hearts forever. In the league, Palace survived comfortably, while, and they found themselves in an FA Cup Semi-final, against champions Liverpool, who were gunning for a league and cup double. Having led 2-1 at one point, Palace were 2-3 down, and were on the verge of leaving Villa Park with their heads down, before Gray jumped forward to head an 87th minute equaliser. Alan Pardew's goal in extra-time ensured that Gray and his Palace teammates would get to play in the FA Cup Final.

The final would be against Manchester United, and in the match Gray played well as Palace secured a 3-3 draw. In the replay, were beaten by a single goal to nil.

The following season, Palace achieved far more than even the biggest optimists expected. The Eagles chased Liverpool and Arsenal until the end, but had to settle for third place in the First Division. As well as this, they picked up silverware, in winning the Zenith Data Systems Cup.

In November 1991, Andy's play was rewarded with a call-up to the England team, playing against Poland in a crucial qualifier for the EURO '92.

Gray left Palace at the end of that season, after their form slumped following the sale of Ian Wright, and went to Tottenham Hotspur for £900,000. His spell at Spurs would be less-successful, and following a loan move to Swindon Town, he was sold to UD Marbella for an undisclosed fee. He would round out his career with short spells at Falkirk, Bury, and Millwall.

Coaching career

After finishing playing, Gray later went into management. He was appointed as the Head Coach of Sierra Leone in 2006. He stated he believed Sierra Leone could qualify for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, which they did not. One of methods for achieving this was to tempt players such as Nigel Reo-Coker, Liam Rosenior and Steve Kabba to accept call-ups to the Sierra Leone team. One player who did so was Albert Jarrett.

In 2005, Andy was voted in Palace's Centenary XI.

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