Goalkeeper Tommy Wright, who is now 44, first joined Newcastle back in January, 1988 for a transfer fee of Â£30,000 from Linfield.
Tommy Wright – former Newcastle United goalkeeper
Tommy was a Northern Ireland International, who today is manager of Ballymena United. In his playing days he won 31 caps for his country in a ten year period from 1989 to 1999, and in his first spell at Newcastle, from 1988 until 1994, he played 83 times for Newcastle. He then moved on to Nottingham Forest for a fee of Â£450,000.
Tommy was at Newcastle when Kevin first arrived as manager back in 1992, and he talked to the Newcastle Evening Chronicle today about what things were like back then.
â€œIf you think this is a crisis â€“ you should have been here in 1992.â€
â€œWhen Kevin arrived last time weâ€™d just lost 5-2 to Oxford, which proved to be the downfall of Ossie Ardiles.â€
â€œKevin came in and instantly the crowd soared from around 15,000 to over 30,000 â€“ it was an amazing time to be at the club.â€
â€œSpeaking as a goalkeeper, Ossieâ€™s tactics were certainly entertaining, and we won a lot of games 4-3 and such like, but defensively we were badly exposed.â€
â€œKevin came in and we comfortably beat Bristol City 3-0 in one of my quietest games for the club!â€
â€œBut it was still a roller-coaster ride during that time. We ended up needing four points from the last two games, and as everyone knows we still went to Leicester on the final day needing something out of the game to stay up.â€
â€œIn the end, the other results went our way and we won, but we werenâ€™t to know that before.â€ â€œIn fact, we laid the foundations for the next few years because the three after that were probably the most successful of the Premier League years.â€
Wright came back to Newcastle, as an emergency goalkeeper, in September of 1999, and played 3 league games for the club. When he returned, there was a terrific new stadium that seated over 52,000 in place, a huge difference to when he left.
â€œItâ€™s maybe only now when you look back on things that you see what Kevin and the players of 1992 did for the club.â€
â€œYou probably donâ€™t realize it at the time, but it shows how important it was to do well back then, first time around.â€
â€œWhen you think about it, the current situation is serious, but with 12 games left and the club six points clear, itâ€™s not quite a crisis, whereas back in 1992 it really was a crisis as we came so close.â€
As we’ve said before, it’s always very difficult to expect someone, who is an icon, to have the same success at a club, the second time around. It doesn’t happen very often, that’s for sure.
Things are a lot different now than in the early 1990s, but everybody who supports Newcastle United are hoping that Kevin can be successful again.
If he’s not, it will not be for the lack of trying or the passion Kevin still has for both the club and the Newcastle area. It will also not because the Newcastle faithful don’t support him and the club 100% in the next few seasons.