Former Aston Villa boss reveals brutal mind games with Jack Grealish after sweary exchange

Jack Grealish has gone on to become a serial winner at Manchester City, but had a tough start at Notts County. (Image: Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Jack Grealish has gone on to become a serial winner at Manchester City, but had a tough start at Notts County. (Image: Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Former Aston Villa manager John Gregory has revealed the foul-mouthed exchange he had with former Villa favourite Jack Grealish.

Grealish departed Villa Park as a hero, and his big-money sale to Manchester City brought in several players. He made 213 appearances for the club with 32 goals and 43 assists, and was a focal point of the team that won promotion from the Championship and then cemented themselves once again as a regular Premier League outfit.

It wasn't always plain sailing for Grealish however, and his first break in senior football came at Notts County where he spent the 2013/14 season on loan. He was a teenager at the time, and a former Villains boss had the task of dealing with a raw Grealish.

"I actually got Jack Grealish taken off once," revealed Gregory on the Under the Cosh podcast.

"He was on loan at Notts County from Villa so this will be about 2014. He must have been about 19 at the time or something like that. He's playing for Notts County and I'm in the dugout and whenever he came near me I said 'f***ing Jack Grealish, Aston Villa? f***ing rubbish. No wonder they f***ing sent you out on loan to Notts County.

"I'm right in his ear. So whenever he came in front of me I said 'you call yourself a f***ing Villa player?'. No wonder they don't f***ing want you up there and let you out on loan. Getting into him, they take him off and substitute him."

Grealish wasn't established at Villa, meanwhile Gregory went from player-to-manager and led them to the Intertoto Cup. John Gregory was manager of Crawley Town at the time, and came up against Grealish in December 2013. It was a big match as the Magpies were fighting relegation, whilst Crawley wanted to steer of relegation.

Gregory claimed: "He went home and told his dad and his dad spoke to one of my friends, I can't think of who it was. He spoke to my friends and said 'what about your mate Gregory, having a pop at my Jack'. My mate said took him off though didn't they?"

Grealish would have the last laugh however as in the reverse fixture at Meadow Lane, he would feature in the side that won 1-0 against the Red Devils. The Magpies stayed up by the skin of their teeth, finishing a place and three points above the drop zone in what was Grealish's first taste of men's football.

Since the encounter, Gregory has only gone on to manage in India with Chennaiyin, and hasn't been in the dugout since 2019. Grealish went on to exclipse Gregory's achievements as a player by winning back-to-back Premier League titles with Manchester City, as well as an FA Cup and a Champions League, whilst also making 34 caps for the England national team.