Derek McInnes on Simon Grayson’s sacking, Sunderland’s situation and why ownership is crucial

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.
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Derek McInnes says he was ‘sad’ to hear news of Simon Grayson’s sacking, and has suggested that the ownership situation was a big reason why he steered clear of the Sunderland job last summer.

Months after turning down the Black Cats, McInnes’s future at Aberdeen is again the subject of fevered speculation as Rangers, who the 46-year-old represented during his playing career, search for a new boss.

File photo dated 09-07-2015 of Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday July 17, 2017. Derek McInnes has had to deal with more key players leaving than his entire spell in charge combined. See PA story SOCCER Preseason Scottish Talking Points. Photo credit should read Jeff Holmes/PA Wire.

File photo dated 09-07-2015 of Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday July 17, 2017. Derek McInnes has had to deal with more key players leaving than his entire spell in charge combined. See PA story SOCCER Preseason Scottish Talking Points. Photo credit should read Jeff Holmes/PA Wire.

McInnes told the Scottish press of his sympathy for Grayson and warned against the ‘sacking culture’ south of the border.

He said: “It was sad to see the news about Simon, it doesn’t give any satisfaction seeing that because Simon is a good manager.

“He proved that before he went there and I’m sure he will prove that again elsewhere.

“It just shows you the difficulties managers have.

“Managers are not blameless for results, of course, but when things are as poor as that then it’s an indication that it’s more than the manager.

“It’s sad to see someone lose their job so early in the season like that but it’s clearly very difficult circumstances to be working in.

“I can only speak for myself and the way I felt at the time because I don’t know the ins and outs of what’s gone on there.

“Clearly it wasn’t going to be an easy job – you don’t get easy ones.

“So it was always going to be tough and that’s how Simon has found it.”

Sunderland abandoned their managerial search after the rejection from McInnes, appointing Grayson after talks with a German consortium ended.

Short is privately thought to be still open to selling the club and McInnes’ comments strongly suggested these concerns were crucial to his decision to stay at Aberdeen.

He said: “My worry is that up in Scotland we are in a bit of danger of becoming like it is down south.

“We’ve seen a third of the managers in the Premiership sacked before November and there has been a lot of casualties in the Championship and elsewhere too.

“Normally when you work in a stable environment you usually get more opportunity to overcome a poor period.

“But these days there seems to be more knee-jerk reactions, it’s the modern way because you can quickly get a groundswell against a manager.

“The whole thing has completely changed, I think it’s totally different being a manager now compared to ten or fifteen years ago.

“We all know what we’re getting into when we take jobs, so you can’t complain too much.

“But that doesn’t mean you have to agree with what’s happening.

“Sometimes it’s down to who the owner is and their background,” he added.

“If you have a steady hand, someone who has been involved for a long time and knows the responsibilities involved then you have a better chance.

“Someone like our chairman here, who knows that results can fluctuate.

“But you have others who always think there is someone better round the corner, someone to do a better job.

“You see the volatile approach down in England and I just think we have to be careful up here not to follow suit.”