Michael Gray has claimed it was during his time at Sheffield Wednesday that he fell out out of love with football.
Gray spent the final 18 months of his career at Wednesday, having previously played for Sunderland, Celtic, Blackburn, Leeds, Wolves and England.
But as much as he loved the club and its fans, the attitude of some of his Hillsborough colleagues left plenty to be desired, in his eyes.
Appearing as a guest on the Under the Cosh podcast, Gray said:
I went to Sheffield Wednesday. Brian Laws signed me there. I went on loan initially and eventually I signed a contract with them. Loved the club. Liked Brian Laws as a guy. I thought he was a really nice fellow. We had 16 pros, so it was always hard. Then he lost his job and Alan Irvine came in, which was just completely different and, I mean, that was the end, but I’d made my mind up that I was packing in when I was 35, regardless. And it was only for the fact that the last two-and-a-half-years of my career – pretty much at Sheffield Wednesday, although I still gave everything I had when I was playing, and I had a good rapport with the supporters there and everything – I just fell out of love with football. Hated it. Training was just me running around and them just tossing it off. You’d get like three or four lads that would give it a go, and some of the younger lads and everything, but we had so many of them.
Wednesday ended up dropping to League One in Gray’s final season at the club – barely four months after Irvine had taken over.
And the 45-year-old claimed that despite a call from his former Sunderland teammate Lee Clark at the end of his Owls spell, urging Gray to sign for his Huddersfield side, the damage was already done.
Gray, who scored or made 10 goals in 44 games for Sheffield Wednesday, turned to punditry on the wake of his retirement.