Tommy Wright
Tommy Wright
Tommy Wright
● Tommy Wright (ROK)

born in Scotland

Thomas Wright was born on Friday, 20th January, 1928, in Clackmannan, Clackmannanshire.

The 5' 8 (11st 3lbs) forward signed for Donald Turner's Thistle in February, 1945, having most recently been with Blairhall Colliery.

Aged 17, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 10th February, 1945, in a 2-1 defeat at home to Airdrieonians in the Southern League.

Tommy scored his first goal for Thistle on Saturday, 28th April, 1945, in a 5-1 win at home to Hibernian in the Southern League.

He scored the last of his 33 goals on Saturday, 12th February, 1949, in a 4-4 draw at home to Dundee in the SFL First Division, marking the occasion with a hat-trick!

Amazingly, that also turned out to be Tommy's last game for the club, having appeared as a Jag on 70 occasions.

His club-list included Blairhall Colliery, Partick Thistle, Sunderland, East Fife, Oldham Athletic and North Shields.

Tommy died on Thursday, 5th May, 2011, in Sunderland, aged 83.

Bio Extra

Tommy Wright was one of the many Scottish footballers of the 1950s who earned international selection on only a handful of occasions, when today his talents would likely have made him an ever-present in the navy blue. The right winger played three times for Scotland (all in 1952-53), including a supporting role in the famous "last-minute Reilly" match at Wembley, but missed out on further opportunities by virtue of the stiffest of competition presented by legendary figures such as Willie Waddell of Rangers and Gordon Smith of Hibernian.

Although born in neighbouring Clackmannan, Wright's footballing pedigree came from fine Fife stock. He first emerged playing for village junior team Blairhall Colliery in the west of the kingdom. The workers at the local pit donated a penny of their salary to the club each week, and the team thrived, earning a reputation as a breeding ground for the professional game. In season 1937-38, six players from Blairhall joined Celtic, and over almost the next three decades, the club was said to have supplied the senior game with an average of four players per season. Among those who started off their careers in the village were goalkeeper George Niven, who spent 11 years with Rangers and a further seven at Partick Thistle; Scotland inside forward Charlie Fleming of East Fife and Sunderland; Scotland winger Jackie Sinclair of Dunfermline, Leicester City and Sheffield Wednesday; and Andy Young, who became one of Raith Rovers' greatest-ever players.

Partick Thistle were first to put their faith in the teenage Wright, small in height but stocky in build, offering him terms at Firhill in February 1945. In 1947-48, his striking instinct from the wing returned a bounty of 17 goals, including a hat-trick in an 8-2 League win over Airdrie at Firhill in October. He really caught the eye that season, as Thistle took third place behind Hibernian and Rangers in Division A. Despite limited further appearances, his impressive goal-scoring ratio continued, and a League Cup hat-trick in a 9-0 win against Queen of the South in September 1948 followed by an even more impressive hat-trick in a 4-4 home League draw with Dundee in February 1949 kept his name in the headlines. In March 1949, Tommy was sold to Sunderland for £8,000. At Roker Park, he was part of the team then known as the "Bank of England" club because of the record transfer fees paid for Len Shackleton and Trevor Ford, who he combined with to great effect in the front line. In Wright's first full season at the club, during which he was ever present, Sunderland finished third in the league, a point behind English champions Portsmouth and runners-up Wolves.

Returning to Scotland in 1955 in part exchange for Charlie ‘Cannonball’ Fleming, Tommy starred for East Fife before returning to England for a brief stint with Oldham before coming back to the north east to end his career with North Shields. Part of a footballing family, his son Tommy Wright junior played over 400 games as a winger with Leeds, Leicester, Bradford, ‘Boro and Oldham and became assistant manager to John Sheridan at Chesterfield. Tommy was also the uncle of former Leicester and Scotland player Jackie Sinclair and Willie Sinclair who played for Huddersfield and Falkirk.


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