Embed from Getty Images

They Made Me An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse, Says Gemma Grainger As She Quits Wales For Norway


By Paul Jones

Gemma Grainger has insisted the offer to quit as Wales manager in order to take charge of Norway was just too good to turn down.

Grainger has left her role with Wales with immediate effect to become head coach of the Norwegians.

The 41-year-old spent nearly three years in charge of Wales and guided them to the verge of qualification for the 2023 Women’s World Cup when they lost out to a last-minute goal in the playoff final against Switzerland.

But now, with three years still remaining on her current contract with the Football Association of Wales, her employers announced on Wednesday evening that Grainger was moving on.

She said: “Over the last three years I have given my heart and soul to our journey, and I will be forever grateful to have had the opportunity to work with this team and proud nation.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to work with this group of players and staff, and to represent a nation that has supported the team with incredible pride and passion.

“I had no intention to leave Cymru, but I have been offered an unexpected opportunity that I could not turn down and it has been extremely difficult for me to get to this point.

“I hope you know the decision to leave has not been taken lightly.

“I truly believe this team is ready to take the next steps and qualify. I’m confident the team can continue to build and grow from this point forward. Cymru will forever have a place in my heart, diolch am bopeth (thank you for everything).”

The former Leeds and Middlesbrough manager was coach of various England age groups before taking over Wales in March 2021.

Her final match in charge was a 0-0 draw in the Nations League against Germany in Swansea in December.

Grainger oversaw 32 games during her tenure with 10 wins, nine draws, and 13 defeats giving her a win percentage of 31.25%.

During the same period, Wales registered a record attendance for a women’s international match when 15,200 fans watched their World Cup play-off semi-final against Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Cardiff City Stadium.

But in the inaugural Women’s Nations League, Wales finished bottom of Group A3, having played Germany, Denmark and Iceland. Their only point of the campaign came in what turned out to be Grainger’s last game in charge – the draw against Germany.

That campaign led to some criticism of Grainger from former players that progress was stalling.

She will now take over the former World Cup and European champions Norway, with Leif Gunnar Smerud having been in interim charge following the departure of Hege Riise after the World Cup.

Norway were knocked out in the last 16 in Australia and New Zealand.

The FAW chief executive, Noel Mooney, said: “I would like to place on record our sincere gratitude for what Gemma has achieved during her time as Cymru national team manager.

“We are really happy that we have progressed well under Gemma and now we enter a period of recruitment for a new manager that will give us the best opportunity to qualify for Uefa Euro 2025 and the 2027 Fifa World Cup.”

FAW President, Steve Williams added: “I’d like to thank Gemma for her hard work during her tenure as manager.

“Having continued to raise the standards within the national team set-up, I believe her eventual successor will have the tools to continue pushing this team to new heights.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *