Wright talks Play-Off Final
Bailey Wright only just made it to the Play-Off Final win over Wycombe Wanderers, after the defender was stricken with a bug in the lead up to the game.
Thankfully he made it in time to help Sunderland to finally achieve promotion to the Championship but speaking while on international duty to The Sydney Morning Herald, Wright explained just how ill he was:
I just had absolute stomach pain and ache and was starting to get the sweats and fever, and the shakes, from there to lunchtime I was sick every half an hour and in bed, shivering and sweating. I was thinking, ‘How long could this be for? Why? Why is this happening now?
The Australian international had to be quarantined away from the rest of the team and was taken to the game by helicopter to ensure he did not pass the bug to his team-mates in the lead up to the game, with Wright explaining that his condition was not helped by that particular mode of transport:
I felt a little bit guilty, but it definitely saved me from getting out there feeling stiff.
That was my first ever time in a helicopter, and I was sweating the whole way – any bit of wind I was [panicking]. My feet were planted, I’ve seen too many things in the news. It was actually quite cool, although the whole time I wouldn’t let go of any seatbelt or anything.
I had a great view of Wembley, right through London. [We landed] at an equestrian centre by the Thames, and it was just like people just galloping on their horses in the middle of London. I was like, ‘What is going on here? This is how the other half lives.’
Wright absolutely loved his experience of winning at Wembley, the second time he has achieved promoted at the home of football, following Preston’s 4-0 win over Swindon Town in 2015:
There’s something in the air about Wembley, it’s just like this moment where your whole career can be summed up in one.
To be there and play there and win there, a lot of good players go their whole careers without getting the chance to play at Wembley and lift a trophy at Wembley, and thankfully, I’ve done it twice. And I hope there’s more to come because it just gives you that taste.
The buzz of the stadium, the arch over it and the size of it – it is, I guess, the home of football. It was just class.
He goes on to admit that he watched Sunderland ‘Til I Die and says that the club brought in a historian to explain to the players just why the club means to much to the fans the city itself:
I watched it myself – it shows you the size of the club, the passion of the fans.
We had a historian come in pre-season and tell us why Sunderland means so much to the fans, and what the city had been through when the shipyards got closed down, and the mining industry shut down.
People lost their jobs, they lost their incomes, and it was terrible for the city, but they always had their football club. When you understand that, when you play for the club, we then feel that. If we’re performing [badly], they certainly let us know. But when we do... God, did they get behind us.
Irish youngster linked
Sunderland have been tracking young Irish prospect Patrick Kelly of Coleraine, according to reports.
Reliable West Ham United insider ExWHUemployee, speaking via his patreon, says West Ham are winning the race to sign the 17-year-old attacking midfielder who is also being tracked by Sunderland and Manchester City, amongst others:
The target is Patrick Kelly who plays for Coleraine FC and has already impressed for the first team. So far he has played 17 times and has scored one goal. His best position is seen as an attacking midfielder playing in the hole behind the forwards.
The player is very highly rated and has had Sunderland, Manchester City and a host of other clubs looking at him. The deal is not complete yet but the club hope to wrap it up soon.
Former winger wins award
Ex-Sunderland winger Andy Welsh has been named North West Counties First Division North manager of the year after guiding Bury AFC to the title.
The Shakers only lost one league game all season and won the league by 11 points but Welsh was quick to credit the rest of the team for his individual award, telling the league’s official website:
It’s an incredible privilege, but this award is really not about me.
It’s not about me as an individual or a striker who scores the winner or a keeper who stops a penalty, it’s about this club. We’ve been a solid group and this first season couldn’t have gone any better- it hasn’t fully sunk in for anyone involved with the club. To win the league with only one defeat, it’s huge credit to the players, the fans and the volunteers who have worked to make this club so great.
Next year will be harder, but we’ve started working towards it and are looking forward to the challenge.