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PAST PLAYER PROFILE

Richard Wright

Wright
Squad number 1
Position Goalkeeper
Joined July 2002
Joined from Arsenal
Signed by David Moyes
Transfer fee £3.5M rising to £4.5M
Full debut v Tottenham (h)
17 August 2002
Contract duration 5 years
Contract expires June 2007
Finalé v Man Utd (A)
25 November 2006
Left Everton Released
14 May 2007
Born Ipswich
Date of birth 5 November 1977
Height 6' 2 "
Nickname(s) Frank Spencer
Honours League Championship
FA Cup (2002)


STRENGTHS
Good shot stopper
 
WEAKNESSES
Ultimate "confidence player"
Prone to blunders


Soccerbase Datafile

Richard Wright joined Everton in the summer of 2002 as new manager David Moyes tried to solve one of Everton's biggest problems at the time: namely, the lack of a consistent goalkeeper.  At £3.5M, the bulk of the manager's transfer kitty for the close-season, the transfer represented something of a gamble.

Wright originally gained his reputation as a future England international at Ipswich Town and made his full first team debut for the Portman Road club on May 6, 1995 at the age of 17 against Coventry City. 

During his time at Ipswich, Wright represented England at youth in the under-21, B and senior levels and was an integral part of the first team that took Ipswich up into the top flight. During the club's Premiership run, he became one of the most highly-regarded goal keepers in the country.

That reputation attracted Arsenal and in August 2001 he made the move to Highbury for the substantial fee of £6M, but he had to endure a frustrating season at Highbury watching David Seaman enjoy most of the action. 

He was restricted to Arsenal's FA Cup run where he was first-choice — although he made enough league appearances to win a Premiership Championship medal in 2002 — and he fully expected to start in the final but Seaman was called in for the win over Chelsea.

"That was very difficult to take," he admitted.  "It was a real kick in the teeth.  My schoolboy dream had been shattered."

Wright, who also lost his international place, realised he had to make a choice.  "I decided that I not only wanted regular football, but needed to if I was to get back into the England reckoning.  After that it was simple.  When David Moyes came in for me I was delighted to sign."

Richard thrives on regular action and seems to be a confidence player. At Arsenal he'd been mainly in reserve, apart from the cup games, and on his Everton debut against Spurs, Wright failed to keep a clean sheet, setting some alarm bells ringing by making some worrying errors. Indeed, his propensity for the odd howler increasingly detracted from his ability to regularly pull off stunning saves. 

Unfortunately for him, knee injury problems that led to surgery in early 2003 — not helped by a freak domestic accident when he fell out his loft in the summer and separated his shoulder — sidelined him again at the beginning of the 2003/04 campaign, prompting David Moyes to sign Nigel Martyn as cover on transfer deadline day.

While Wright was laid up, Martyn made the first-team goalkeeper's shirt his own with a string of impressive and age-defying displays.  It meant that Richard warmed the bench for much of the season.

It was a similar story the following season; Martyn's consistency made him automatic choice and kept Wright as second string. On the occasions on which Richard was given the chance to show his manager and the fans alike that he had what it takes to unseat Martyn, he displayed the uncomfortable and nervy air that has plagued his career since leaving Portman Road and hampered his England chances.

Indecision as to when to claim crosses or advance off his line to close down angles, combined with poor ball handling, have shattered the confidence of the defenders in front of him and, just as importantly, the Everton faithful. He was also in goal for the 7-0 annihilation the Blues suffered at Highbury at the end of the successful 2004-05 campaign; yet another blot on his copy book. Curiously, he didn't see it that way!

"I enjoyed the Arsenal game.  I know I conceded seven goals but I got a chance to make some saves and get involved."

As things stand, Wright's Everton career somewhat in limbo. He made his first start of the 2005/06 season at Old Trafford and pulled off a series of superb saves to earn the Blues a creditable point. But back-to-back defeats that yielded six goals conceded meant that Martyn reclaimed his spot as soon as he had recovered from injury, relegating Wright back to the bench.

Indeed, Moyes told Shareholders at the 2005 AGM that he did not see him as a viable long-term option in the Everton goal, leading to the assumption that when Martyn retires, either Iain Turner or John Ruddy and not Richard Wright will step into the breach.

But when Martyn was injured, it was Wright who came in, and actually succeeded (after 5 attempts) at securing a clean sheet against Man City — his first in 2½ years.  But it didn't take long for Wretched 'Calamity' Wright to strike, who injured his ankle badly while warming up for the Chelsea FA Cup replay, falling awkwardly on a sign placed inside the goal saying "NOT IN USE"!!!

 Sign in goal

Cue yet more missed games from avoidable injury problems and rumours of a potential switch to Southampton in the summer of 2006.

Dickie Wright was a regular on the bench throughout most of 2006-07, as understudy to Tim Howard.  He did get one game, against Howard's loaning club, Man Utd, which turned out to be his last for the club before he was released in May 2007, when his contract expired.

By Michael Kenrick
Last updated May 2007


Everton Career
Season Squad
Number
League
Apps (sub)
League
Goals
Cup
Apps (sub)
Cup
Goals
Total
Apps (sub)
Total
Goals
2002-03
1
33 (0)
0
4 (0)
0
37 (0)
0
2003-04
1
4 (0)
0
0 (0)
0
4 (0)
0
2004-05
1
6 (1)
0
5 (0)
0
11 (1)
0
2005-06 1 14 (1) 0 1 (0) 0 15 (1) 0
2006-07 1 1 (0) 0 1 (0) 0 2 (0) 0
  Totals 58 (2) 0 11 (0) 0 69 (2) 0

Prior Club Record
Season Team Appearances (sub) Goals
1995-2001 Ipswich Town 240 (0) + 51 (0) 0 + 0
2001-2002 Arsenal 12 (0) + 10 (0) 0 + 0


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