24 June 2007

Tommy Wright

Preceded by
Succeeded by
1993
1997
The ‘Ballyclare Barman’ went a long way. From under-appreciated reserve at Linfield to international acclaim, it was a bumpy road…


Name: Thomas James Wright
Born: 28 September 1963, Ballyclare
Height:  6.01 ft / 1.85 m
Weight: 13.05 st / 85 kg
Position: Goalkeeper

Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 31 Full Caps (1989-1999), 1 Junior Cap (1986); Irish League ‘B’ Division Representative; Football League: 1 Cap (1992).
Club Honours: (with Linfield Swifts) Irish League ‘B’ Division Champion; George Wilson Cup Winner; (with Newcastle) Football League Division One Champion 1992/93; (with Forest) Football League Division One Runner-Up 1993/94.

Awards: NI International Player of the Year 1993, 1997.

Club Career:

Clubs
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
FL Cup
Europe
Others
Brantwood
-
-
-
(Irish League 'B' Division)
Linfield
83/84-87/88
Dec-83
-
7(0)/0
2(0)/0
-
-
1(0)/0
Newcastle U.
87/88-93/94
Jan-88
£30,000
72(1)/0
4(0)/0
6(0)/0
-
1(0)/0
Hull City
90/91
Feb-91
Loan
6(0)/0
-
-
-
-
Nott’m Forest
93/94-96/97
Sep-93
£450,000
11(0)/0
-
2(0)/0
-
-
Reading
96/97
Oct-96
Loan
17(0)/0
-
-
-
-
Man. City
96/97-00/01
Mar-97
£450,000
24(0)/0
2(0)/0
1(0)/0
-
1(0)/0
Wrexham
98/99
Feb-99
Loan
16(0)/0
-
-
-
-
Newcastle U.
99/00
Sep-99
Loan
3(0)/0
-
-
-
-
Bolton Wdrs
00/01
Jan-01
Free
3(1)/0
-
-
-
-
Ballymena U.
01/02
Aug-01
Free
6(0)/0
-
1(0)/0
-
-
Linfield
02/03
Aug-02
Free
-
-
-
-
-
TOTALS


£930,000
175(1)/0
8(0)/0
10(0)/0
0(0)/0
3(0)/0


Coaching Career:
Northern Ireland ............... Goalkeeping Coach
Irish FA/Ballyclare Comrades.... Youth Development Officer
Linfield........................ Goalkeeping Coach
Limavady United... Nov/03-May/05 Manager
Ballymena United.. May/05-Apr/08 Manager
Norwich City...... May/08-Feb/09 Goalkeeping Coach
Shamrock Rovers... Feb/09-Nov/09 Goalkeeping Coach

Lisburn Distillery Sep/09-Nov/11 Manager
..... Irish League Cup Winner 2010/11
St Johnstone ..... Nov/11-Jun/13 Assistant Manager
Northern Ireland ..Feb/12-Jun/13 Goalkeeping Coach
St Johnstone ..... Jun/13- date. Manager

Biography:
For a player who’s career in the Irish League was limited almost exclusively to Linfield Swifts and who’s experiences in England were severely blighted by injury, Tommy Wright ranks amongst the most popular ever Northern Ireland ‘keepers.

Wright will forever be remembered for his performance in Nuremburg in 1996 as Northern Ireland claimed a famous 1-1 draw against reigning European Champions, Germany. The circumstances surrounding it make that performance even more astounding. Wright hadn’t played an international match in almost two-and-a-half years to that point and had just returned to club action on loan at Reading after a prolonged injury nightmare. Germany’s Jurgen Klinsmann would later decry the wall built in front of Wright’s net, but truly this was the match of the ‘keeper’s life.

Thirty-one caps was scant reward for a player of Wright’s ability, but he remained much sought after until the end of his career in England. He returned to the Irish League in August 2001, rejecting an offer from Bolton, to join Ballymena. Injuries struck again and he played just seven times for the Sky Blues before hanging-up his gloves and joining the coaching staff at Linfield. At Windsor Park he briefly re-registered as a player during an injury crisis but was not called-upon for firstteam action.

Manager of Limavady United from 2003-2005 and Ballymena from May 2005 to April 2008, Wright has also worked for the Irish FA in Youth Development and was Northern Ireland goalkeeping-coach for a time under Sammy McIlroy. In May 2008 he took the job of goalkeeping coach at Norwich City having previously turned the position down. He left Carrow Road in February 2009 shortly after the departure of the manager that had hired him, Glenn Roeder. Linked with the management job at Glenavon, he instead joined ex-international teammate Michael O'Neill at Shamrock Rovers as goalkeeping coach.

In September 2009 Wright returned to Irish League management with struggling Lisburn Distillery. He combined his roles at New Grosvenor and Shamrock Rovers until the end of the 2009 League of Ireland season before taking the Whites to safety and on to a Co-Operative Insurance Cup final win the following season. He left Distillery in November 2011 to become assistant-manager to ex-Northern Ireland and Manchester City colleague Steve Lomas at St Johnstone.

In February 2012 Wright was announced as part of Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland coaching staff. When Lomas left St Johnstone to manager Millwall in June 2013, Wright was promoted to the top job. He left his Northern Ireland post shortly thereafter.

More to follow.


Northern Ireland Cap Details: 
1
26-04-1989
Malta
-A-
W 2-0
WCQ
2
26-05-1989
Chile
-H-
L 0-1
FR
3
06-09-1989
Hungary
-H-
L 1-2
WCQ
4
18-05-1990
Uruguay
-H-
W 1-0
FR
5
11-09-1991
Faroe Islands
-A-
W 5-0
ECQ
6
16-10-1991
Austria
-H-
W 2-1
ECQ
7
19-02-1992
Scotland
-A-
L 0-1
FR
8
02-06-1992
Germany
-A-
D 1-1
FR
9
09-09-1992
Albania
-H-
W 3-0
WCQ
10
14-10-1992
Spain
-H-
D 0-0
WCQ
11
17-02-1993
Albania
-A-
W 2-1
WCQ
12
31-03-1993
Republic of Ireland
-A-
L 0-3
WCQ
13
28-04-1993
Spain
-A-
L 1-3
WCQ
14
25-05-1993
Lithuania
-A-
W 1-0
WCQ
15
02-06-1993
Latvia
-A-
W 2-1
WCQ
16
08-09-1993
Latvia
-H-
W 2-0
WCQ
17
13-10-1993
Denmark
-A-
L 0-1
WCQ
18
17-11-1993
Republic of Ireland
-H-
D 1-1
WCQ
19
23-03-1994
Romania
-H-
W 2-0
FR
20
20-04-1994
Liechtenstein
-H-
W 4-1
ECQ
21
03-06-1994
Colombia
-N-
L 0-2
FR
22
11-06-1994
Mexico
-N-
L 0-3
FR
sub
23
09-11-1996
Germany
-A-
D 1-1
WCQ
24
14-12-1996
Albania
-H-
W 2-0
WCQ
25
22-01-1997
Italy
-A-
L 0-2
FR
26
11-02-1997
Belgium
-H-
W 3-0
FR
27
29-03-1997
Portugal
-H-
D 0-0
WCQ
28
02-04-1997
Ukraine
-A-
L 1-2
WCQ
capt
29
10-09-1997
Albania
-A-
L 1-2
WCQ
30
27-04-1999
Canada
-H-
D 1-1
FR
sub
31
18-08-1999
France
-H-
L 0-1
FR
sub



Summary: 28(3)/0. Won 13, Drew 6, Lost 12.


Picture by Roy Cathcart.

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