Tommy Wright (footballer, born 1963)

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Tommy Wright
Personal information
Full name Thomas James Wright[1]
Date of birth (1963-08-29) 29 August 1963 (age 56)
Place of birth Ballyclare, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
St Johnstone (manager)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
? Linfield ? (?)
1988–1993 Newcastle United 73 (0)
1991Hull City (loan) 6 (0)
1993–1997 Nottingham Forest 11 (0)
1996Reading (loan) 17 (0)
1997Manchester City (loan) 5 (0)
1997–2001 Manchester City 29 (0)
1999Wrexham (loan) 16 (0)
1999Newcastle United (loan) 3 (0)
2001Bolton Wanderers (loan) 4 (0)
2001 Bolton Wanderers 0 (0)
Total 169 (0)
National team
1989–1999 Northern Ireland 31 (0)
Teams managed
2003–2005 Limavady United
2005–2008 Ballymena United
2009–2011 Lisburn Distillery
2013– St Johnstone
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Thomas James Wright (born 29 August 1963 in Ballyclare) is a former football goalkeeper and current manager of St Johnstone.

Wright represented Northern Ireland 31 times as a player. At club level he played for Grange Rangers, Brantwood FC, Linfield, Newcastle United, Hull City, Nottingham Forest, Reading, Manchester City, Wrexham and Bolton Wanderers. Since retiring as a player he has worked as a coach or manager for Limavady United, Ballymena United, Shamrock Rovers and St Johnstone.

Playing career[edit]

After playing in his native Northern Ireland until he was 25, Wright entered English football with Newcastle United in the 1988-89 season and had a spell as first choice goalkeeper after Dave Beasant was sold to Chelsea in January 1989, but Newcastle went down to the Second Division that season.

After losing his place to Pavel Srnicek in the early 1990s, he eventually moved to Nottingham Forest where he went straight into the starting line-up, however after an injury absence he failed to regain his place from Mark Crossley. He also saw relatively little first team action in later spells at Manchester City and a number of clubs where he played on loan. Early in the 1999-2000, he returned to Newcastle on a loan deal and played for them three times.

Wright won 31 caps for Northern Ireland in a ten-year period from 1989 to 1999. The high point of his Northern Ireland career was his performance in Nuremberg in 1996, as Northern Ireland earned a 1–1 draw against reigning European champions, Germany, in a 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification match. Wright had not played an international match in over two years prior to that point and had just returned to club action, on loan at Reading, after a prolonged injury absence.

Injuries blighted his playing career, and he found dislodging other goalkeepers, once he regained fitness, difficult or impossible.

Management and coaching career[edit]

Wright was first a goalkeeping coach for Norwich City but left when Glenn Roeder resigned. He was then appointed Youth Development Officer at Ballyclare Comrades. In November 2003 he made his first move into management at Limavady United[2] and stayed for a couple of years. Wright was then appointed manager of Ballymena United and reached the County Antrim Shield against Linfield at Seaview. Wright resigned at the end of the 2007–08 season.

He was a full-time goalkeeping coach at Shamrock Rovers for the 2009 League of Ireland season under his former teammate Michael O'Neill. In September 2009 he was appointed manager of Lisburn Distillery.[3] His first game was against his former club Ballymena United, which Lisburn won by a single goal.

St Johnstone[edit]

Wright left Distillery in November 2011 to become assistant manager of Scottish Premier League club St Johnstone.[4]

After Steve Lomas left the Perth club to manage Millwall in June 2013, Wright was promoted to manager.[5] Wright's first game in charge was a UEFA Europa League tie in Norway against Rosenborg. St Johnstone won 1–0, their first-ever away victory in European competition.[6] The second leg ended in a 1–1 draw, putting St Johnstone through 2–1 on aggregate, and through to the third round of the qualifying stages for the first time.[7] Despite winning 1-0 win against Minsk in the first leg of the next round, they went on to lose on penalties.[8] After the match, Wright criticised Minsk, believing they lacked class in victory.[9] After winning two games and drawing once in October, Wright won the Scottish Premiership Manager of the Month award.[10]

In March 2014, Wright was involved in a touchline incident with Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara.[11] This resulted a one-match ban for Wright.[12] A few days later, Wright was taken to hospital after suffering stomach pains.[13] Despite being in the hospital, Wright was still involved in the squad selection ahead of a match against Hibernian.[14] The operation was a success, and Wright made his return in a match against Partick Thistle.[15][16]

After Wright led the club to a top-six position in the Premiership, he guided them to their first Scottish Cup Final after a 2–1 win over Aberdeen.[17] They were victorious in the May 17 Final meeting with Dundee United at Celtic Park. It was St Johnstone's first major trophy win.[18] Wright signed a new contract with St Johnstone in August 2014.[19] He signed another contract with St Johnstone in October 2015, soon after the club had rejected an approach from Dundee United for Wright.[20]

He was voted Premiership Manager of the Season for the 2015–16 season, leading St Johnstone to another fourth-place finish[21] and a third domestic cup semi-final, losing out to Hibernian.[22]

St Johnstone secured a third successive fourth-place finish in the Premiership in 2016–17 under Tommy Wright, with two games remaining, also qualifying for Europe again.[23]

Media Work[edit]

Wright from time to time does co-commentary work for BBC Northern Ireland's football coverage[24] as well as some punditry work for BT Sport's Scottish football coverage.[25]

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of match played on 4 December 2019
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Limavady United November 2003 May 2005 54 23 15 16 042.59
Ballymena United May 2005 April 2008 117 44 29 44 037.61
Lisburn Distillery September 2009 November 2011 97 36 16 45 037.11
St Johnstone June 2013 Present 292 118 61 113 040.41
Total 561 221 121 219 039.39

Honours and Achievements[edit]

As a player[edit]

Newcastle United
Bolton Wanderers

As a manager[edit]

Lisburn Distillery
St Johnstone


  1. ^ "Tommy Wright". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Limavady make Wright move –".
  3. ^ "Wright takes over at Whites".
  4. ^ "Tommy Wright resigns as Lisburn Distillery manager". BBC Sport. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  5. ^ "St Johnstone appoint Tommy Wright as new manager". BBC Sport. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  6. ^ "Rosenborg 0–1 St Johnstone". BBC Sport. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  7. ^ "St Johnstone 1–1 Rosenborg (agg 2–1)". BBC Sport. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  8. ^ "St Johnstone 0 - 1 Minsk". UEFA. 8 August 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  9. ^ "St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright slams 'ungracious' Minsk". BBC Sport. 8 August 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  10. ^ "St Johnstone: Stevie May and Tommy Wright win October awards". BBC Sport. 14 November 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  11. ^ "Jackie McNamara and Tommy Wright issued with notices of complaint". STV Sport. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  12. ^ "Dundee United boss McNamara hit with five-match touchline ban for bust up with St Johnstone's Wright". Daily Mail. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  13. ^ "St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright hospitalised". The Scotsman. 20 March 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  14. ^ "Tommy Wright picks St Johnstone team from hospital". The Scotsman. 21 March 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  15. ^ "St Johnstone's Tommy Wright misses game after op 'success'". BBC Sport. 21 March 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  16. ^ "Tommy Wright set for St Johnstone return". The Courier. DC Thomson. 27 March 2014. Archived from the original on 14 April 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  17. ^ "Scottish Cup: Stevie May the hero in St Johnstone win over Aberdeen". BBC Sport. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  18. ^ "St Johnstone 2-0 Dundee United". Daily Telegraph. 17 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  19. ^ "St Johnstone: Manager Tommy Wright signs three-year contract". BBC Sport. 11 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  20. ^ "St Johnstone: Tommy Wright signs new St Johnstone contract". BBC Sport. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  21. ^ "Wright wins Premiership award". SPFL. 29 May 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Hibernian 2:1 St Johnstone". BBC Sport. 30 January 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  23. ^ "St Johnstone: Manager Tommy Wright so proud to finish above Hearts". BBC Sport. 13 May 2017. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  24. ^ "Northern Ireland v Slovenia, 2015/2016, Match of the Day Northern Ireland - BBC One".
  25. ^[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]