Former defender talks about getting his break in broadcasting.
After scoring on his first full appearance for the club, Michael Gray became one of the most iconic Sunderland players of his generation.
Gray is ninth in the list of most appearances for the Black Cats, playing 410 games in all competitions.
The pacey full-back left the club in 2004 to join Blackburn Rovers before spells with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday.
It was during his time with the Owls that Gray decided he wanted to pursue a career in the media industry.
The England international told safc.com he was making plans months before finishing his career at Hillsborough in 2010.
He said: “I went to London and did some media experience down there which helped me when I first started out doing commentaries and I think you need to do that.
“You can’t just get thrown in at the deep end and talk about football for 90 minutes.
“It’s OK knowing about the game but getting that across to the British nation is pretty difficult, so I think you need the tools to be able to do it and that’s exactly what I did.
“I went and did my background and my homework on it and now I really enjoy it.”
Gray has worked across multiple facets of the media since his retirement including writing for the BBC and doing live commentaries for both Radio 5 Live and Talksport.
The Black Cats legend also features on Sky Sports, expressing his views on matters across the footballing world and he loves every minute of it.
“I still love watching football matches,” he added.
“I’ve been working in the media for two and a half to three years now and I’m really enjoying it getting around to a lot of football grounds.
Gray was back at the Stadium of Light on Saturday ahead of the defeat to Arsenal and, despite that game being his first here this season, he loves to come back as often as possible to a place that holds a special place in his heart.
“Obviously it was nice for me to go back on Saturday; I had the weekend off so I just put my feet up and enjoyed watching Sunderland,” he said.
“It’s a shame that I can’t get back as much as I’d like to but obviously with doing the work for Talksport and Five Live and stuff like that it’s really hard.”