New PNE coach is no ‘Yes man’

Steve Thompson worked with Simon Grayson at Blackpool
Steve Thompson worked with Simon Grayson at Blackpool
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Steve Thompson’s forthright views are just the job for Preston boss Simon Grayson after the former Blackpool caretaker manager was appointed as PNE’s new first-team coach.

The 50-year-old former Leicester City and Bolton Wanderers midfielder replaces John Dreyer, who has left the club.

Thompson and Grayson have past history – they were members of the same Leicester team which won promotion to the Premier League in 1994.

And then when Grayson was handed his first managerial role at Blackpool in 2005, Thompson joined his backroom staff as first-team coach a year later.

The pair enjoyed success together and guided the Tangerines to promotion to the Championship via the League One play-offs.

“We have just got a good relationship,” said Thompson.

“I’m not a ‘Yes man’ – he respects my opinion and hopefully we can be good together again.

“I’ve been to the training ground and met all the staff and I am looking forward to meeting all of the players and getting back into action.”

When Grayson left Blackpool to take the reins at Leeds in 2008, 
Thompson remained behind at Bloomfield Road and eventually became Ian Holloway’s assistant.

After helping Blackpool reach the Premier League in 2010, Holloway and Thompson were unable to prevent the team from returning to 
the Championship straight away.

In 2012, the Seasiders reached the play-off final once again, but defeat to West Ham at Wembley was eventually the cue for Holloway to seek pastures new.

When he joined Crystal Palace, Thompson was installed as temporary boss although he was overlooked for the permanent position, which went to ex-PNE star Michael Appleton.

His stay at the club did not last too long and Thompson was back in charge on a caretaker basis in 2013.

Paul Ince was then named as the new boss and Thompson then joined Mark Robins’ backroom team at Huddersfield in 2014.

At the end of that year, he took up a position with Leeds United as Neil Redfearn’s right-hand man.

An internal matter led to Thompson being suspended by Leeds in April of this year and he has since been without a club.

Grayson was thrilled to bring Thompson on board.

He said: “Once I saw that he had left Leeds and what an impact he had there, I thought it was a great opportunity.

“Hopefully Tommo can have a major impact on our season and over the next few years.”

Meanwhile, the club have thanked Dreyer, who leaves after a three-year stint with the Lilywhites.

Hired as Graham Westley’s assistant in 2012, Dreyer took control of one game – a 2-0 win over Bournemouth at Deepdale – when the former Stevenage boss was fired.

He was kept on as first-team boss when Grayson became PNE manager in 2013.