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Dario Gradi retires from Crewe after 36-year association

Dario Gradi has announced his retirement from Crewe after a 36-year association.

During a 24-year period as the most successful manager in their history Gradi was in charge for 1,359 matches, winning four promotions and guiding Alex into English football’s second tier in 1997 and 2003, before moving into a position as technical director.

“Crewe Alexandra would like to thank Dario for his outstanding 36 years of service to the football club and are pleased to know that he would be happy to continue to assist the club’s senior coaching staff with his invaluable experience in the future,” said a statement from the club.

In 2016 the 78-year-old was suspended as a director by the Football Association – preventing him from taking part in any football-related activities – while it conducted a high-level investigation into a football sexual abuse scandal which involved Crewe after last year’s conviction of former coach Barry Bennell.

In a statement at the time he was suspended Gradi, who maintains he knew of nothing untoward at Crewe, said: “Aside from denying any wrongdoing, it would be inappropriate and unfair on all parties to comment piecemeal through the media at this time in connection with historic allegations.

“Suffice to say, I will do everything within my power to assist all investigatory authorities into what is becoming a wide-ranging and important enquiry into historic sexual abuse.”

In January 1998 Gradi was awarded the MBE for his services to football, received the PFA Merit Award in 2004 and in 2011 was honoured by the Football League for his ‘outstanding contribution to league football’.