Danny Grainger Guides Workington AFC to their First Promotion in 18 Years
Danny Grainger has confessed it is hard to describe the emotions of being the coach who has led Workington Reds back into the Northern Premier League Premier Division.
As a player, the 36-year-old Football Careers client hit the heights in the Scottish game, winning the First Division title with Gretna and the Scottish Cup with Heart of Midlothian in a 5-1 Edinburgh Derby Final humiliation of Hibernian a decade ago.
Life as a coach following his retirement from playing has taken Danny through the peaks and troughs of the Beautiful Game.
He first took over the club in the 2019/20 season and was in pole position to take Workington back to the Premier before the COVID-19 pandemic struck and the season was declared null and void.
On Saturday, though, all that hurt was swept away as a 2-1 win over Runcorn Linnets at Reds’ Borough Park stadium in front of over 2,500 fans brought Workington their first promotion in 18 years. Danny smiled:
“It really is unbelievable when you think of what we’ve had to endure over the last few years, as a club, as individuals, it’s unbelievable. I’m absolutely made up for everyone involved. They’re an unbelievable group of boys and I can’t ask anymore.”
Grainger’s playing career took in the Gretna fairytale journey through the Scottish leagues before they slumped into liquidation and he went on to star for Dundee United, St Johnstone, Hearts, St Mirren, and Dunfermline before hanging up his boots.
Danny racked up 469 pro games and 47 goals before turning to coaching and did return to Scotland for a short-lived spell as Paul Sheerin’s Assistant Head Coach at League One sleeping giants Falkirk.
Now he has brought some joy back to a former English Football League club that fell on hard times and slipped out of the EFL in 1986. Promotion secures a slot now in the seventh tier of English football and Grainger can begin to plan for the Premier Division in his quest to restore some of the former glories to a proud old club.